Unite the Union Gibraltar's Executive has taken stock of the current post EU Referendum scenario and is concerned in respects to the skills gap that exists among the manual trades in Gibraltar.
"The EU Referendum result was a blow to the Gibraltarian community," explains Unite in a statement issued on Friday, "not because of any tangible and objective difference since then, but for the potential repercussions that could materialise should the order arise from the Madrid central government to tighten the movement of people at the frontier all the while being outside the provisions of the EU to curtail such behaviour."
"With this potentially negative scenario, Gibraltar could at any moment following the tumultuous period of negotiation that would start when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was invoked, see itself short of tradespeople. This is an outcome that Unite cannot allow to happen, and the leg work to resolving this matter has to start now.
Unite recognises the current minimal training mechanism put in place by Government, but this programme of training is not adequate to furnish Gibraltar with the quality tradespeople it deserves. Paramount to this process is the need to give to our people the skills, through accredited training, to become professionals in their own right. An alternative training system, that is rigorous and able to develop an individual from to whatever level that person desires to continue to, must be put in place.
The existing Government system does have a place however, where those opting for generic training in order to access the workplace without the need to progress through rigorous training can use the existing mechanisms.
Unite would like to highlight however that the training system that it would like implemented is not a soft option for those that are less academically able but a system that meets the needs of a burgeoning city state such as Gibraltar in producing craftspeople with recognised qualifications of the highest standard.
Unite draws parallels with the Gibraltar Academic Bursary system where no matter the course of study or to what extent professionals in that field are required locally, funds are available to develop these members of our community in their desired field of study; but in these circumstances in the manual trades.
That being said however, Unite would like to expand upon an initiative that would see Government liaising with Unite in identifying skills shortages in any and all vocations, be these the classical manual trades such as carpentry, plumbing, etc. to those related to healthcare such as nursing or physiotherapy as well as hospitality or administrative work as examples. Once these shortages were identified, Government, with the assistance of Unite, would liaise with the Department of Education in order to advise school leavers of the opportunities in these fields and incentivise the study of these programs with additional funds and other mechanisms.
Unite recognises however that the Chief Minister is involved at the highest levels of Brexit related talks and meetings and as a responsible organisation, the union stands shoulder to shoulder with him and the Gibraltarian community in ensuring that the outcome of said actions are to the benefit of our Gibraltarian city-state. It is precisely for these reasons that Unite is advocating for Government to focus again on the issue of training given the challenges ahead.
The union however does not hide from the fact that its vision of training is distinct to that of Government and that it will seek to push its agenda at the highest level in order to safeguard the interests of Gibraltar and its youth. Unite, through this press release, strongly and publicly requests the Chief Minister to sit down and talk with Unite’s Executive on the matter, and advocates for a forum to develop a new strategy; an issue of which the general community of Gibraltar and Unite are very much in favour."