Saturday, April 20, 2024

‘More business growth needed to absorb graduates’

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There is nothing wrong with the number of individuals who graduate from the University of the West Indies (UWI) each year.

However, there is a need for more businesses to be created to utilise their skills and talent.

That is the view of deputy principal, Professor Winston Moore who said the Cave Hill Campus could have a greater impact on new businesses.

“The problem isn’t the number of graduates; the problem is the number of businesses that we have created. I think what we always have to do is work on creating opportunities for the graduates. Once you are creating businesses you are going to be creating jobs. If we can get more businesses being formed, more innovation being done ….

“The university has the opportunity to impact the number of new businesses. If we can do that, we can definitely absorb a number of these new graduates,” Moore said.

He made those comments on Tuesday night at the Roy Marshall Teaching Complex at UWI, during a lecture entitled Valuing The Impact Of The UWI, Cave Hill Campus, which was held in association with The Nation Publishing Company Limited.

During the hour-long presentation, Moore reasoned that while the campus still had a contribution, he said there were skills gaps that had to be filled through greater collaborations with the Barbados Community College (BCC) and Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI).

“We need to continue working together to ensure we fill the skills gap that still exists. Even though we have seen a large number of persons graduate from UWI, there is still a need for more training at the university level, from SJPI and BCC.

“We need to work closely together to make sure the skills that are coming out are more closely aligned with the needs of society,” he said.

He estimated that the impact of UWI exceeded the financial investment while noting that the Barbados Government paid tuition fees for locals.

Moore stressed that the campus could stand to benefit from greater contributions.

“The annual economic contribution is around $325 million . . . the regional contribution is around $95 million, so if we compare the value that is generated from individuals, firms and business relative to the contributions from regional governments, you can see that the Cave Hill campus is making a significant contribution to the economic benefit of individuals in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean.

“It makes a strong case for other governments to do something similar as well because the return on investment is quite significant. If you are getting $3.42 for every dollar, there is no other investment in the Caribbean that gives you that type of return. We can’t get the skills coming out of university if we don’t have the income coming in that suits those skills,” Moore added.

Professor Justin Robinson hosted the lecture which was attended by scores of other university staff, students and officials such as Senator Dr Chelston Brathwaite, Chief Executive Officer of the Nation Group of Companies Noel Wood, Head of Advertising for Nation Group Paulette Jones and Business Development Manager Kelly Johnally.

In her remarks, Jones highlighted the importance of the relationship between the NATION and the university.

UWI celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and the NATION its 50th.

“Both our sectors, education and media, must be in a similar situation; a constant fight to defend the integrity of the information we share in an era of fake news.

“Even as we both entertain and encourage robust discussion, the effort necessary to cut through the noise requires a different set of skills and resources. Yet we both understand and are committed to our respective roles of educating, preparing, telling, and sharing the stories of our people, our culture to the world and our responsibility to build our nation and to represent the people of the Caribbean as only we can,” Jones said. (TG)

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