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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says more youth, particularly young men, are needed in Jamaica’s labour force to ensure the nation’s continued economic growth.
He notes that despite the country’s unemployment rate falling to a record low 4.5 per cent, an untapped pool of young people remains outside the labour force.
Mr. Holness said many of these youth are idle on street corners, either drawn into illicit activities or simply choosing to remain at home.
He maintained, however, that their potential could be harnessed to further drive Jamaica’s prosperity.
“We need you… in the workforce, in order to ensure that our economy can continue to grow. If businesses… want to expand but can’t find the labor force to do it, it will impact on their investment decisions,” the Prime Minister underscored.
He was addressing a Town Hall on Housing and Land, at Harmony Beach Park in Montego Bay, St. James, on Thursday (August 31).
Mr. Holness said the Government has already taken proactive measures to bridge this gap between untapped youth potential and the workforce by collaborating with HEART/Trust NSTA to identify and engage youngsters who have completed their education but are yet to secure employment.
He pointed out that the aim is to provide them with training aligned with prevailing job opportunities, thus preparing them to actively contribute to Jamaica’s continued development.
“We want to get them employed. We… need them in the labour force, because that is what is going to expand the growth of the economy. So, we are working on that,” Mr. Holness stated.
He emphasised the potential of this approach in curbing youth involvement in criminal activities, pointing out that channeling their energies into productive avenues can help to reduce the allure of illicit engagements.
Thursday’s town hall was the second in a series being hosted by the Government to engage the public on wide-ranging issues relating to policies, programmes and initiatives impacting their lives.
The series will provide opportunities for citizens to share ideas, pose questions and express their thoughts.