Labour Market Forum Dec. 13

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Labour and Social Security, the Hon. Shahine Robinson. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • A Labour Market Forum, to be hosted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security on Wednesday (December 13), will seek to facilitate a robust discussion on access to employment opportunities for youth, the labour market needs and the existing skills gaps in the sector.
  • The issues highlighted by the National Labour Market Study include the recognition of a skills gap, lack of relevant work experience by jobseekers and lack of soft skills in the workplace, inclusive of behavioural and customer service skills.
  • Mrs. Robinson said the forum will look at the major job prospects for youngsters and how access can be improved; what the best practices are in addressing similar challenges in other jurisdictions; and the forging of partnerships.

A Labour Market Forum, to be hosted by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security on Wednesday (December 13), will seek to facilitate a robust discussion on access to employment opportunities for youth, the labour market needs and the existing skills gaps in the sector.

According to Portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, the forum will bring together academic professionals, employers and policymakers in a series of panel discussions looking to provide answers to a series of questions arising out of a labour market study completed in March this year.

The issues highlighted by the National Labour Market Study include the recognition of a skills gap, lack of relevant work experience by jobseekers and lack of soft skills in the workplace, inclusive of behavioural and customer service skills.

Mrs. Robinson said the forum will look at the major job prospects for youngsters and how access can be improved; what the best practices are in addressing similar challenges in other jurisdictions; and the forging of partnerships.

“The major concerns remain in the questions to be addressed, such as… are young people finding decent work and what are the challenges; [as well as] how do we address the issue in relation to soft skills and work experience in the job market,” she said.

The Study revealed that 80 per cent of employers are optimistic about business prospects, but also showed that there is uncertainty as to whether these expansions will create quality jobs and simultaneously close the skills gap.

Mrs. Robinson said the Ministry aims to adequately address these issues through targeted collaboration with various stakeholders.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Colette Roberts-Risden, said the insight to be gained from the Forum is critical to a range of stakeholders, particularly educational and training institutions, and youth contemplating an area of study.

“Educational and training institutions need to know what the market needs, where the growth prospects in terms of employment are for the economy, so that they can play their role in training our people to meet the demands of the market,” she said.

“The ideal is for us in Jamaica to generate and create jobs for people to be gainfully employed, reducing the unemployment rate, thereby leading to growth and a reduction of poverty in society,” Mrs. Roberts-Risden added.

Funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Forum will be streamed live, and the public, particularly students, are being urged to participate. Persons are also invited to register for attendance online.

The Forum will be held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel under the theme ‘Jamaican Employers and Educators, Working Together to Close the Skills Gap’.

JIS Social