JIS News

A special programme has been developed by the HEART Trust/National Training Agency (NTA), to retrain workers who are laid off, in an effort to guide them towards alternative job opportunities or to start their own businesses.
Addressing the nation on December 14, Prime Minister Bruce Golding urged employers who may be “forced to lay off workers as well as the trade unions which represent them, to contact the HEART Trust/NTA and to work with that agency, to help their workers to equip themselves for alternative employment or to start their own small businesses.”
“We know that many workers are fearful of losing their jobs at this time, and despite our efforts in key sectors, some layoffs will be unavoidable, as the global turmoil continues,” Mr. Golding said.
He pointed out that this is not unique to Jamaica, as over two million people in the United States have lost their jobs since the start of the year, “1.2 million in the last three months and 533,000 in November alone.”
The Prime Minister said that, “while we cannot prevent some amount of dislocation and distress here at home, we must do what we can to help.”
In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Donald Foster, explained that the collaborative effort between the Government and the agency, is aimed at staving off the effects of the unfolding global crisis.
“What we are doing here is to assist persons who have been affected. We will work with their firms to provide them with guidance and counselling, because you know that retrenchment is a traumatic experience and we would want to provide them with relevant guidance and counselling. This includes, but is not limited to, career counselling, to give them career information. That counselling can help them to determine where they go from redundancy, in terms of skills training.or entrepreneur and business development training, so that they can be re-integrated into the workforce in the shortest possible time,” he told JIS News.
According to Mr. Foster, the agency would provide menus of training programmes for those persons who are affected, and through career counselling, “they will be able to select training programmes that they will want to embark on, and we will be able to help them to complete application forms, to get them in appropriate training,” he said.
For persons who would want to use their redundancy package to assist with the development of their own businesses, Mr. Foster said that the agency would provide those individuals with entrepreneurial training, and seminars in business development.
He added that assistance would also be given in the designing and developing of appropriate business plans that could be taken to the micro sector financing agencies for funding.
“We will work with agencies, such as the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), to provide them with technical assistance to help them to establish their own businesses and to mentor and hold their hands, while they are establishing their businesses,” he said.
Mr. Foster noted that close contacts are being made with enterprises that have signalled retrenchment measures. “So, what we will do is to get into the firms and talk to the relevant persons. We will capture a register of persons who may be affected and we will start the intervention immediately, once the retrenchment process has started,” he pointed out.
He said that work is also being undertaken with the regional offices of the agency to respond to the needs of the citizens, and to work with the firms and respective enterprises that might be affected by retrenchment programmes.
“We have a strong interest in helping persons who may become retrenched, we have a strong interest in getting them back into employment in the shortest possible time, and this employment may be job employment or self employment,” he said.

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