Foreign Investors Urged to Collaborate in the Training of Skilled Labourers


President of Incorporated Master Builders’ Association of Jamaica (IMAJ), Michael Archer, is urging foreign investors to take a collaborative approach toward training Jamaica’s skilled labourers.
He said that if investors provide the resources and technology to train workers, then it would be possible for Jamaica to meet the requirements of local and foreign markets.
“Inasmuch as we understand the need to provide opportunities for our skilled workers overseas, to what extent can we get some of these foreign countries that need skilled workers to work with us to provide the resources and technology to train more of our workers, so that we can meet our own local requirements and also provide surplus workers for their markets?” he asked.
Mr. Archer was speaking at a meeting between the IMAJ and the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles at the Ministry’s North Street offices on October 3.
According to the IMAJ President, “we are not training as many workers as we would like.” Stating that “we have the capacity to train workers,” he said that a trained, skilled Jamaican worker is world-class. “If you go in the Caribbean, in the construction industry.the Jamaican worker is the preferred worker in these countries for the construction sector,” he asserted.
He expressed the hope that “we [Jamaicans] can get to the position where we are training surplus workers because they will be able to access work in the wider Caribbean and they will also enable local construction entities to move into those areas and take advantage of the opportunities there.”
Stressing the need to “get more local contractors operating as meaningful partners with our foreign compatriots,” he said that the process could work if it is supported by government policy.
“We would hope that government policy will facilitate that process, because only then will we be in a position to have a more meaningful transfer of technology to the country, that will result in greater productivity and greater growth within the economy, and will put us as local contractors in a position to also access and benefit from the opportunities in the wider Caribbean,” he said.
He noted that despite the significant growth in construction, local firms are not benefiting. “We anticipate that with all the other policies in place, that we [IMAJ] can look to a significant growth in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, where both our workers and contractors will have access to opportunities to invest and to work,” he said.
Citing the disconnect between the number of persons who need jobs and the skills they provide to access these jobs, Mr. Archer said, “we want to work with (the Labour Ministry) around the issue of creating a skills bank that will facilitate not just external countries seeking workers here but will also facilitate HEART as a training institution and ourselves as employers, to be able to access workers who are competent and trained.”

JIS Social