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Strategic Workforce Development in the Caribbean

Funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)

Project Overview

In October 2023, the Barbados Immigration Department (BID) initiated a transformative project, “Enhancement of Immigration Services – Competency Framework,” funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and Barbados Tourism Investment Inc (BTII).

Led by HelpUsTrade, the lead consulting firm, this initiative aims to understand and elevate the competence of the BID workforce through the development of a tailored Competency Framework suitable for the BID and the Government of Barbados (GoB).

Recognising the paramount importance of a skilled and capable workforce, the project set out to address specific challenges, such as:

  • Clearly defining the skills, behaviours, and knowledge expected from employees in their respective roles.
  • Provides a structured roadmap for employee development, enabling targeted training and skill enhancement.
  • Creating a tool for objectively assessing and measuring employee performance against defined competencies.
  • Informing strategic planning by identifying skill gaps, helping in recruitment, and aligning workforce capabilities with organisational goals.
  • Fostering a culture where employees are encouraged to continuously enhance their skills and contribute to the overall success of the BID.

To fully understand these issues, HelpUsTrade will benchmark existing documentation, engage key stakeholders, conduct a comprehensive Training Needs Analysis (TNA), and develop a robust Competency Framework that is aligned with industry standards and best practices nationally and internationally.

Benchmarking, Knowledge Exchange, and Competency Analysis

The project’s inception phase involves a meticulous review of existing job descriptions, performance evaluations, and past competency frameworks within the BID and GoB. Simultaneously, HelpUsTrade will also analyse competency-enhancing training materials and identify resources across the government that could enhance the framework’s efficacy. The comprehensive data collection strategy employed by HelpUsTrade will include targeted surveys, interviews, and focus groups with department staff at all levels. Through these efforts, the HUT team will assess development needs, challenges, suggestions, and concerns. The inclusion of a Training Needs Analysis (TNA), which will also be run in parallel, will also provide valuable training insights, ensuring that the Competency Framework addresses specific skill gaps identified during the analysis.

Knowing your strengths and your goals – that’s the foundation for confidence and passion. The Barbados Immigration Department’s Competency Framework is much more than just paperwork; it’s a passport to personal and professional fulfilment for the Department’s workforce. By providing clarity and purpose, we’re unlocking the passion that drives people to make a difference, linking competence mastery and career progression, to produce a cutting edge public institution capable of delivering high quality career opportunities and timely Immigration services to the public, making Barbados more competitive among international and regional peers in attracting FDI and also making residents and citizens see the value of good public services.

Prof. Dermot Cahill, Director, HelpUsTrade

Competency Framework Development

Informed by the insights gathered from the analysis, the project aims to define core competencies for each job role within the BID. Behavioural indicators and proficiency levels will be developed to facilitate objective and unbiased assessments of BID staff in future. The competencies will then be organised into a structured framework that allows for easy navigation and reference by both staff and managers in future. The Barbados Immigration Department’s (BID) Competency Framework serves as a transformative tool, delivering a range of strategic advantages to key areas of government, as it:

  1. Provides a structured and transparent approach to talent development, offering a clear delineation of skills and behaviours expected in each role, fostering alignment across all levels of the organisation.
  2. Creates a culture of continuous improvement by empowering employees to not only meet but exceed competency expectations, promoting a proactive and self-driven approach to skill enhancement.
  3. Encourages collaboration by offering insights into the competencies of peers and managers, facilitating a deeper understanding of team dynamics and fostering a collaborative work environment.
  4. Integrates a comprehensive Training Needs Analysis, ensuring targeted and aligned training initiatives that directly address identified competency gaps, optimising the use of training resources strategically.
  5. Establishes a synergistic relationship between skills development and organisational goals, ensuring that individual competencies contribute directly to the overall success and effectiveness of the Barbados Immigration Department.

Impact and Future Readiness

As the Barbados Immigration Department continues to invest in the professional growth of its staff, the Competency Framework will stand as a testament to its commitment to excellence in the workplace. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement and aligning training initiatives with identified needs, the Barbados Immigration Department is well-positioned to navigate future challenges and uphold its reputation as a leader in immigration services globally. HelpUsTrade is proud to support such a progressive organisation as it invests in a key economic area of activity for the Government of Barbados supporting its delivery of key economic development services as well as high quality immigration services for its citizens and expat residents.

HUT recommendations to boost our level of efficiency and competence is in keeping with our vision and mission. HUT guided the Department through a process that was measured, scientific, and precise.

Margaret Inniss, Chief Immigration Officer, Barbados Immigration Department (BID) (, Barbados – February, 2024

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