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Education Minister Highlights Need for Skills Training


JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid has reiterated the importance for today’s youth to be trained and certified in specialised skill areas that are in demand in an increasingly competitive labour market.


He made the call at the closing ceremony for the National Skills Competition held at the National Arena on February 22.


He encouraged the youth to make use of training opportunities at the HEART Trust/ NTA and other training institutions.


“This economy is poised for take-off. The rate of job growth is going way ahead of the labour force. We don’t have enough trained persons. In fact, we are running out of Jamaicans for the jobs that are becoming available,” Mr. Reid said.


Jamaica’s overall labour force comprised 1.34 million persons as at October 2017, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) survey, reflecting a decrease of 6, 500, compared to the previous year.


Senator Reid stated that with new developments and the restructuring of some major sectors in Jamaica, more skilled-based job opportunities will become available for which Jamaicans need to be prepared for.


“If the Business Process Outsourcing (PBO) sector continues to grow at the rate it is going, and then it goes to 100,000 and 200,000 [employees], we are going to need enough workers for that,” he said.


Mr. Reid also mentioned the Chinese investment of US$6 billion to develop an industrial park and special economic zone alongside the JISCO/Alpart operations in Nain, the St Elizabeth and the proposed Vernamfield aerodrome in Clarendon.


“We can’t allow all these developments to occur in our country and not ensure that our young people are ready for these opportunities. So this Skills Competition is not only showcasing our capabilities, but also our possibilities, because equally, we as Jamaicans are competing for markets, investment, logistics and international business,” he said.


More than 6,000 students participated in the 2018 National Careers Week (NCW) and Skills Competition.


Under the theme ‘Building the Future by Guiding the Present, the initiative, organised by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in collaboration with public- and private-sector partners, aims to promote and introduce new skills and entrepreneurial opportunities to youth.


CAPTION: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid