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Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, has disclosed that there have been requests from American companies for 5,000 Jamaicans to be employed on farms in the overseas employment programme.
“We are very fortunate. Up to the middle of August last year, we have had requests from American employers for 5,000 Jamaicans. We sent off 200 last week and between now and August, we will be sending them off weekly,” he said.
Mr. Charles made the disclosure during Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s “Jamaica House Live” radio call-in programme, on Wednesday (March 4).
The Minister said that the skills required were “simply agricultural.”
He added that some 6,000 agricultural workers were available to work in Canada, and that a programme is being developed for other skills there.
“British Colombia is building a programme for two years from now, so the skilled workers can go there,” he said, noting that some of the jobs included construction and hotel work.
Mr. Charles said that women will be in the mix for employment, as most of the workers in the mushroom, apples and grape areas in Canada are women.
“The hotel workers are women, and the health workers are also women. We have nearly 500 health workers being trained, between the UWI and other health institutions in Jamaica, for British Colombia,” he stated.
The Minister said that one of the biggest problems facing the Ministry,was to meet the global demand for skilled, certified Jamaican workers.
“Certification is a problem, literacy is a problem. Once we get over that, we can move forward,” he declared.
He said that about 2,500 youths per month were being trained for the Canadian market.

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