Job Seekers Benefit from Electronic Labour Exchange

Photo: contributed Acting Director of the Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE) in the Ministry of the Labour and Social Security, Lyndon Ford.

Story Highlights

  • With an increasing demand for jobs in Jamaica, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, through its Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE) system has been matching prospective employees to jobs.
  • Labour Component Coordinator, ELE, Lyndon Ford, tells JIS News that the Ministry has been making strides in matching jobseekers to suitable employment.
  • “Jobseekers have found it to be highly effective and, understandably, they want more job openings on the system. A lot of employers say it is a cost-effective way of acquiring the skill sets that they want and the ELE acts as an extension of their companies’ Human resource team,” he notes.

With an increasing demand for jobs in Jamaica, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, through its Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE) system has been matching prospective employees to jobs.

Since its inception in 2002, more than 14,000 persons have registered with the system, including almost 900 employers.

Labour Component Coordinator, ELE, Lyndon Ford, tells JIS News that the Ministry has been making strides in matching jobseekers to suitable employment.

He notes that in 2015 some 550 persons were placed in jobs, moving from 187 in 2013 and 295 in 2014.  Since the beginning of the year, 300 persons have been placed in jobs, including finance, hospitality, customer service and administration.

Mr. Ford says the Ministry has been “making linkages with labour market players” through several partnerships with key stakeholders in the public and private sectors across the country, aimed at helping to boost the visibility of the ELE across the island.

In July 2015, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to establish a satellite station in the parish that would allow free access to the public. The Jamaica Library Service also joined forces with ELE in February this year to allow users of the library access to the system.

In addition, the Human Resource Management Association signed an MOU with the ELE to bring awareness of the portal to their members. Links have also been established with several teachers’ colleges to encourage students and graduates to add their skills to the skills bank and thereby increase the database to meet the needs of employers.

To meet the needs of employers, the prospective employees undergo preparatory training called Employability Skills Sessions, where employers and partners of ELE make presentations and give feedback.

“The programme is constantly changing and one of the things that we have realised is that we have to be liaising with the employers to develop. We want to ensure that the candidates are aware of what they are required to do and that they also understand what the labour market is indicating and what the expectations are,” Mr. Ford says.

He adds that as a result of these sessions, the ELE has experienced a 36 per cent increase over the last six months, because it is “vigorously sought after by companies”. Mr. Ford says that feedback from employers, as well as prospective employees, has been positive.

“Jobseekers have found it to be highly effective and, understandably, they want more job openings on the system. A lot of employers say it is a cost-effective way of acquiring the skill sets that they want and the ELE acts as an extension of their companies’ Human resource team,” he notes.

The Coordinator says there are plans to expand the offerings on the website, which has been undergoing phased improvement.

“Phase two was launched in April and focused on the Labour Market Intelligence component, including labour market reports, the career development ladder and information in terms of how we can assist persons in order for them to be informed to make serious decisions,” he informs.

There are also plans to improve the reach of the ELE to the parishes of St. Mary, Portland and St. Ann, which are currently underserved.

In addition, Mr. Ford says the Ministry is working towards further increases in ELE in terms of employers and jobseekers by 15 per cent.

“We also want to tie that increase to the placement… so it is not just increase the supply side, but it is to also ensure that supply and demand is equalised so we can get the placement figures that we are looking for,” he tells JIS News.

The ELE is one of three components of the Labour Market Information System (LMIS), a job-matching facility that offers free online and offline services to employers and jobseekers to include résumé writing, interview preparation, entrepreneur workshops and access to a database of skilled workers.

The other components of the LMIS are the Skills Bank and the Labour Market Intelligence.

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