Principal of Jamaica College (JC), Ruel Reid, says parents and teachers must endeavour to get an understanding of the careers currently emerging, in order to guide and prepare students, especially at the secondary level, for the job opportunities that are available.
Speaking at a meeting of the JC Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), at the school’s Old Hope Road campus in St. Andrew, on March 12, Mr. Reid noted that the careers currently emerging are in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“The world is changing, and there are investments that are coming, whether in renewable energy or other areas. If you’re talking about renewable energy, you will need technical workers. If you are talking about Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), there will be need for technical engineers, people who have technical skills,” he contended.
Mr. Reid argued that technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is no longer the “outside child” of academics, but rather it is “now the thing” as “technology rules the world”.
In light of this, the Principal said JC was positioning its students to take advantage of this development. He informed that as part of the institution’s career exposition programme, the school has undertaken to educate students and parents on the emerging career trends, with the academic staff advising where they believe the youngsters need to be positioned to take advantage of these.
Mr. Reid also stressed the need to ensure that the course of training undertaken by the students, would guarantee them jobs. He cited, as an example, the “thousands” of Masters in Business Administration (MBA) graduates, in the United States, “who are currently without jobs”.
While pointing out that there are other jobs available in that country, Mr. Reid said the graduates could not take these up, as “they are not trained for those”. The Principal said a similar situation obtains in Jamaica where “lots of our graduates from the universities have degrees in International Relations and Library Studies and Zoology… yet they can’t find a job to match those qualifications. But there are jobs available”.
In this regard, Mr. Reid underscored the need for students to be carefully guided in the choices they make, which will impact their future.
The meeting was also addressed by Education Minister, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, who delivered a wide-ranging address on various aspects of the sector.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter