Brunei focusing on local workforce development: Minister

Minister of Home Affairs Awang Abu Bakar Apong (left) during the virtual meeting. - BB

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): The Government of Brunei Darussalam is endeavouring to build partnerships and collaborations between industry players, regulators and training institutions to formulate new upskilling and reskilling programmes for locals.

Minister of Home Affairs Awang Abu Bakar Apong shared this in his plenary statement during the virtual 109th International Labour Conference (ILC) on Tuesday (June 8).

The minister congratulated the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on the successful organisation of the first virtual ILC.

“I am pleased to join fellow constituents in also congratulating the ILO for their innovativeness in constructing, for the very first time in the history of the annual conferences, a virtual International Labour Conference, ” said the minister.

Awang Abu Bakar also shared that the country is motivating human resource development through the provision of online as well as hands-on training in Industry 4.0 and technical skills.

Citing the Labour Force Survey in 2019, the minister said Brunei Darussalam’s unemployment rate is 6.8 per cent, and since its inception in 2020, the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC) has improved local employment by nearly four folds, compared to previous years, with 12, 763 jobseekers employed.

“Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah remains cautiously optimistic as we trek the gradual road towards recovery.”

“Nevertheless, we are positively reaffirming our investment into lifelong learning opportunities, supportive curriculums that bridge industry needs and sustain the protection of fair working conditions and occupational safety and health, ” said the minister.

The plenary session of the conference will be held until June 19. The 109th session of the ILC marks the first virtual conference in its 102-year history by adapting to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s conference brings together over 4, 000 delegates representing workers, employers and governments from the ILO’s 187 member states from around the globe to exchange views and discuss the road to recovery in the world of work in light of the pandemic.

Also on the agenda is the recurrent topic of social protection as well as the formulation of an outcome document entitled ‘A global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the Covid-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient’.

Opened on May 20 by ILC President and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations Omar Zniber, as well as ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, the four-week conference will run throughout June and resume committee meetings in November and December.

Permanent Secretary (Security, Welfare and Law) at the Ministry of Home Affairs Mohd Amir Hairil Mahmud, Commissioner of Labour Muhd Saufi Ibrahim, and senior government officials from the Permanent Mission of Brunei Darussalam to the United Nation in Geneva and the Department of Labour also attended the vmeeting as part of the Brunei Darussalam delegation.

Brunei Darussalam has been a member of the ILO since January 2007 and has participated regularly in the annual conference, traditionally held in Geneva, Switzerland. - Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network

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