Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the Ministry is seeking to put measures in place to increase the participation of female workers in the overseas employment programmes.
  • The Canadian SWAP which is in its 50th year, continues to be an important contributor to economic development as well as a job generator.
  • The 310 workers, who left the island today (January 6), are the first batch of workers for the year. They will be engaged in various agricultural activities, including greenhouse crop production, food processing, and work in vegetable and plant nurseries.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says the Ministry is seeking to put measures in place to increase the participation of female workers in the overseas employment programmes.

The Minister was speaking at the 2016 dispatch ceremony for some 310 participants in the Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SWAP) at the Overseas Employment Services Centre at East Street, downtown Kingston, on Tuesday (January 5).

He said he will be engaging the relevant stakeholders in discussion towards advancing this initiative.

“We have started having female involvement in some areas of the programme, such as the harvesting of strawberries… I think that as we go forward, there is going to have to be some affirmative action from the standpoint of gender balance, once they (females) are capable of doing the work,” he said.

Dr. Ferguson informed that Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has directed that all Cabinet Ministers work towards creating gender equity within programmes under their portfolios.

Chief Technical Director in the Ministry, Dione Jennings, informed that the Ministry is assessing the skills of female applicants, which will assist in placing them in the most appropriate industries.

She noted that while the female workers have traditionally served in the hospitality sector, working as housekeepers, cooks and kitchen assistants, there has been a decline in demand in these areas.

“I’m sure that there are women that can manage some of the work that the men are doing and so we are looking at that in terms of what skills they have and what they can bring to bear …so we will be looking at some of those things to ensure that they are participating not just in the hospitality industry but also in other aspects,” she noted.

She said that care is being taken to ensure that females are not subject to harsh working conditions.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Jennings said that the Ministry continues to place great emphasis on the importance of training as a basis for employment and employability of Jamaicans.

“We have to explore and keep (reinventing) our strategies to respond to the labour demand, the requirements and the changes in the global labour market to ensure that we can harness these opportunities successfully,” she pointed out.

The Canadian SWAP which is in its 50th year, continues to be an important contributor to economic development as well as a job generator.

Approximately 8,090 Jamaicans benefitted from employment opportunities in Canada last year, with 97 per cent engaged in farm work, while other persons travelled under the Low Skill and Skilled Workers programmes.

The 310 workers, who left the island today (January 6), are the first batch of workers for the year. They will be engaged in various agricultural activities, including greenhouse crop production, food processing, and work in vegetable and plant nurseries.