JIS News

The high cost of utilities, rapid increase in the fuel rate, crime and violence and HIV/AIDS at the workplace, are among the top agenda items for National Employer’s Month, which got underway yesterday (Sept. 1).
Other topics for discussion are: the social partnership; the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the challenges facing sugar and banana producers.
JEF’s president Audrey Hinchcliffe speaking at the press launch held at the organization’s Ruthven Road offices in Kingston, said the entity had a responsibility to provide relevant information to its members and employers in general, on these and other major issues.
Mrs. Hinchcliffe further pointed out that employers must be informed of the region-wide developments and the opportunities available, so as not to be left behind in the global marketplace. “Our job is also to prepare our workforce so that at the end of the day, brand Jamaica can rise to the challenge and set the pace for our Caribbean neighbours to follow,” she stated.
During the course of the month, Mrs. Hinchcliffe said, focus would be placed on issues that would propel employers to world-class standards. It is on this basis, that she said, the Federation has maintained a partnership with the HEART Trust/NTA to among other things, improve training and certification at the workplace.
“Our initial two-year Memorandum of Understanding with HEART ends on September 23, 2006 but we are confident that the partnership will extend well beyond that time,” she stated.
She further commended the HEART Trust for its “timely and expert interventions in industry” through its Enterprise Based Training (EBT) initiative, noting that the programme was reshaping many workforces and adding quality and value to many business. “The JEF will also continue to promote training and certification in the workplace among its members as we seek to take advantage of opportunities in the marketplace,” she promised.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Hinchcliffe informed that the JEF was on a campaign to get more people to start businesses. “That is going to be the engine of growth for the economy,” she pointed out, adding that unemployment had remained a matter for concern particularly as it related to the youth. “The unemployment rate among them (youth) was last estimated to be at 31 per cent, much too high for comfort,” she noted.
It is on this basis that the Federation will be launching a Youth Employment Network (YEN) as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA), “to increase the survival and success rate of young and youth-owned businesses in Jamaica”.
“We want to use these vehicles to create an environment where young entrepreneurs can support and inspire each other in growth, balance and success,” Mrs. Hinchcliffe stated.

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