Research Day Facilitates Discussions on Labour Market and Economic Growth

Photo: Michael Sloley Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Mr. Dennis Chung (left), responds to questions during a public forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel, which was hosted as part of the HEART Trust/NTA Labour Market Research Day on February 16. Fellow panelists (from second left) are: Senior Specialist, Skills and Employability, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Dr. Hassan Ndahi; Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Wayne Wesley; and Head, Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, Mr. Danny Roberts.

Story Highlights

  • The Labour Market Research Day, hosted by the HEART Trust/NTA on February 16, facilitated a range of discussions on the ways to position the labour market to enable economic growth.
  • In addition to the public forum, which was broadcast on radio and streamed live on the internet, there was also a general session at the Jamaica Conference Centre, featuring presentations and displays.
  • Meanwhile, HEART Trust/NTA Executive Director Dr. Wayne Wesley highlighted the value of education and training for economic development.

The Labour Market Research Day, hosted by the HEART Trust/NTA on February 16, facilitated a range of discussions on the ways to position the labour market to enable economic growth.

Senior Director of Information System Technical Services at HEART Trust, Colin Barnett, in an interview with JIS News following a public forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel, said the inaugural staging of the event came out of a need to make labour market information accessible and to expand the discourse on the matter.

He said the HEART Trust is positioning itself to be the repository of labour market information that can be used by several training providers to determine programme offerings to meet labour market demands.

As a result, the agency partnered with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, as well as the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) for the event, and included participation by students, employers and heads of training entities and community colleges.

In addition to the public forum, which was broadcast on radio and streamed live on the internet, there was also a general session at the Jamaica Conference Centre, featuring presentations and displays.

“We are supporting the work of the Labour Market Reform Commission and so we wanted to expand the discourse and give an opportunity for persons throughout the country to understand what is happening, and to be partners in this effort to improve the labour market,” Mr. Barnett explained.

He said a key component of Labour Market Research Day was the presentation of the HEART Trust’s Labour Market Information Portal.

The portal, launched in March 2015, is available online and is in its second phase of development to include additional modules for occupational profiling, career matching and real time vacancies. The current phase includes modules for education and training, as well as skills in demand and also hosts a number of publications based on HEART Trust’s primary research.

“The overall takeaway for research day is for persons to understand how and where labour market information is accessible. Another key takeaway would be for students to be cognizant of opportunities that exist for future jobs, so they can properly plan their career path,” he said.

Meanwhile, HEART Trust/NTA Executive Director Dr. Wayne Wesley highlighted the value of education and training for economic development. He added that investment and funding, research and development and technological innovation, which are all covered in Vision 2030, is also critical.

He urged universities and training institutions to conduct research geared towards enabling product development and innovation.

“As the national training agency, we have recognised that in order for development to take place, there must be some amount of flexibility in how training and education is delivered. I believe the resources that we have must be directed toward areas that will generate and create the greatest prospects for employment,” Dr. Wesley said.

Other panelists at the public forum were: Senior Specialist of Skills and Employability at the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Dr. Hassan Ndahi; CEO of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Dennis Chung; and Head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, Danny Roberts.

JIS Social