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A Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and International Labour Organization survey has revealed that 32 per cent of employed persons in Jamaica have received some level of vocational training.
“In terms of the type of training received, we found hospitality skills, automotive skills and beauty care skills”, said Steven Kerr, Manager of the PIOJ’s Human Development Unit.
The School to Work Transition Survey, which was launched at the PIOJ’s offices yesterday (Oct. 4), found that only 17.6 per cent of young persons, who have attended school, had also received some level of vocational training.
Mr. Kerr said that many of those who participated in the survey “believed that the market was saturated to some extent and they wanted to learn other things”.According to the research, older persons in Jamaica were likely to be employed in the workforce. “People are looking for persons with experience and as such, there is a correlation between age and employment”, he informed.
The report also showed that there were five main obstacles in finding a suitable job and these are: having no suitable training opportunities; unsuitable general education; no education; unsuitable vocational education; and not enough jobs available.
“Other obstacles are work requirement, work experience, gender and age,” said Mr. Kerr, noting that, in terms of gender, “we also found that there is a correlation in being a male and being employed”.
He reasoned that, “maybe the economy is in such a way where it is easier for a male to find work than it is for a female, even though we found that more females were in school”.
In the meantime, the report has recommended that gender-biased subject selection processes at grade nine should be phased out and that there should be an expansion of peer counselling programmes in schools with incentives to attract more males in the education and training system.
Mr. Kerr informed that the report suggested the creation of more single sex schools in Jamaica, so as to improve the students’ academic performance. “The youngsters told us in no uncertain terms that in certain scenarios, they found themselves (attracted) to the opposite sex and were under performing,” he pointed out.
He noted that, “we also need to implement a code of ethics for teachers to prevent discrimination and favouritism. We interviewed a number of youngsters, who felt that there was a double jeopardy in the education system. They were being marginalized by the female teachers and the male teachers were spending more time with the female students and less time with the male students.”
In her remarks, Education and Youth Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson said she was comforted by the fact that “education continues to be a critical variable in access to the labour market”.
“We are in danger of absorbing a myth, which says that you can get a good job without even being able to read and write. I would like us to emphasise that this does not really exist,” she stated.
The School to Work Transition Survey was designed to collect and analyze information on the various challenges, attitudes and situations that impact on the youth in Jamaica, as they make the transition from school to work.
The study provided a comprehensive body of relevant data on the characteristics of some 3,685 youth, age 15 to 24 years.