JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Overseas Work Programme is being expanded to increase employment opportunities for Jamaican workers, said Minister with portfolio responsibility, Pearnel Charles.
Making his contribution in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate at Gordon House on Wednesday (May 21), Mr. Charles said that while the programme has worked well over the years, in recent times, “we have been having problems and competition from other countries in North America, China, and Mexico challenging us.”
The Minister pointed out that last year, 14,000 persons participated in the United States and Canadian agricultural and hospitality programmes and while the Government will continue to work on maintaining these contacts, effort will be made to diversify the areas of focus and seek alternative opportunities.
“There is a growing demand for skilled workers in various trades such as masons, carpenters, auto body repairmen, electricians, and health personnel,” he informed, pointing to such a situation existing in western Canada.
“Their economy is experiencing severe shortage of skilled labour, resulting from low birth rate and aging in their population. They say that by 2015, British Columbia will require 11,000 cooks and bakers; the telephone company there, in two years (time), will require 40 per cent of their workforce; the accounting industry will require 2,000 accountants in four years, and the construction industry will require 7,000 workers,” the Minister told the House.
Mr. Charles advised the House that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed with Okanagan College in Canada, which will facilitate a “period of training” for some of the country’s skilled and semi-skilled workers, after which they will be placed in jobs in western Canada.