More Employers Urged to Hire Persons with Disabilities

Photo: Mark Bell Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson (2nd left); and Senior Director in the Ministry, Colin Barnett (right), share a light moment with students of the HEART Trust/ NTA, at the institution’s inaugural Labour Market Research Day held on Tuesday, February 16 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is calling for more employers to hire persons with disabilities (PWDs).
  • He noted that the Ministry, through its agencies, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) and the Abilities Foundation, along with HEART Trust/NTA, has made “tremendous progress” in training and certifying PWDs in skilled areas.
  • The Labour Minister, in his presentation, also pointed to the need for increased research and market data regarding unemployed and unattached males in Jamaica.

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, is calling for more employers to hire persons with disabilities (PWDs).

He noted that the Ministry, through its agencies, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD) and the Abilities Foundation, along with HEART Trust/NTA, has made “tremendous progress” in training and certifying PWDs in skilled areas.

“I want us to …encourage employers to … employ PWDs. In this way, we would buttress our disabilities legislation through actual integration and involvement,” he said.

Dr. Ferguson was delivering the keynote presentation at the HEART Trust/NTA’s inaugural Labour Market Research Day on Tuesday (February 16) at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

The Labour Minister, in his presentation, also pointed to the need for increased research and market data regarding unemployed and unattached males in Jamaica.

He further called for increased support for entrepreneurs.  “Let us encourage the necessary mindset and attitudes such as creativity and independence, provide information on areas for start-up such as agriculture and tourism, and offer grant funding and micro financing where possible,” he said.

In his remarks, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said the Ministry is making a shift in how persons are trained and educated.

“In the past, we educated and trained people according to classic standards in certain predetermined disciplines and then we expected industry to employ them. We are now asking investment and industry leaders what kind of skills they need and then we train people to fill them,” he informed.

In addition, he said that based on the new and emerging demands in the labour market, the Ministry is now “insisting that all students must sit at least one marketable skill area in an external examination at grade 11” along with English and Mathematics.

Minister Thwaites noted further that a new curriculum will be rolled out in September, which will promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills among students.

The research day themed: ‘Labour Market Information: A National Imperative for Career and Economic Development’ was aimed at increasing awareness about labour market research and information and in so doing, promote its uses and benefits.

The event brought together various stakeholders to share pertinent information that would highlight the relevance of labour market research and its role in career and economic development.

Other presenters included Senior Specialist, Skills and Employability at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) regional office, Dr. Hassan Ndahi; Senior Labour Market Analyst in the Ministry, Shaine Palmer; and Manager, Human and Community Development Unit, Social Policy and Research Division at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Steven Kerr.

The research day formed part of weeklong activities for the agency’s annual National Career Development Awareness Week being observed from February 13 to 19 under the theme: ‘Career Development: A National Imperative’.

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