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  • Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says introduction of the flexi-work arrangement, and the anticipated resulting positive economic spin-offs from doing so, could generate increased employment, particularly for Jamaica’s youth.
  • Mr. Kellier told the gathering of guidance counsellors, social workers, trainers, secondary school students, employers, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders that “....ultimately the answer to youth unemployment – to unemployment overall – will be sustainable growth and development in the economy.”
  • Mr. Kellier suggested that any solution being proposed to address this anomaly must include expansion of technical and vocational education, and training in the formal education system as well as through community-based programmes and groupings.

Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says introduction of the flexi-work arrangement, and the anticipated resulting positive economic spin-offs from doing do, could generate increased employment, particularly for Jamaica’s youth.

He made this point while speaking at the first in the Ministry’s series of Regional Dissemination Sessions, at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay, on April 3, to present the findings and recommendations of a School-to-Work Transition Survey (SWTS).

Mr. Kellier told the gathering of guidance counsellors, social workers, trainers, secondary school students, employers, entrepreneurs,  and other stakeholders that “….ultimately the answer to youth unemployment – to unemployment overall – will be sustainable growth and development in the economy.”

The Minister noted that one major pillar of the government’s growth inducement strategy is attracting local or foreign investments into areas such as agriculture, shipping, tourism, logistics, and business process outsourcing.

Against this background, he added, “you will understand why the newly-introduced flexi-work arrangement is going to be an important policy building block, going forward. I believe that flexi-work schedules can empower us to do more with the time we have available – and do it more efficiently and productively.”

The School-to-Work Transition Survey (SWTS) was conduct between February and April 2013 by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), and Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The SWTS is an instrument that has generated relevant labour market information on young people, aged 15 – 29 years, and serves as a tool for demonstrating the indirect paths Jamaica’s youth are taking to productive employment.

It is also a critical instrument in assessing the challenges they face in the pursuit of decent and satisfactory employment, and is the second of its kind to be conducted in Jamaica since 2006.

Among the SWTS’ main findings is that young people in the surveyed age cohort, comprise 27.9 per cent of Jamaica’s total population, and understood the importance of gaining an education.

The findings show, however, that despite their desire to obtain higher education, 64.8 per cent or approximately 491,200 youth were not enrolled in a school or training programme at the time of the survey.

Mr. Kellier suggested that any solution being proposed to address this anomaly must include expansion of technical and vocational education, and training in the formal education system as well as through community-based programmes and groupings.

“Technical and vocational offerings must be expanded to include non-traditional areas….such as entertainment and language fields, as well as the visual and performing arts….(there are) entrepreneurial possibilities in these areas – and let us encourage equal males’ and females’ access to these opportunities,” Mr Kellier said.

Similar presentations of the survey are scheduled for Tuesday, April 8, at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort in St Ann; Thursday. April 10, at Tropic View Hotel in Mandeville, Manchester; and on Friday April 11 at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, where they will culminate.