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Prime Minister Bruce Golding has called for an assessment to be made of the futuristic requirements of the job market and that based on this assessment, training programmes be tailored to meet expected investments.
Mr. Golding has given the assurance that major investments are coming Jamaica’s way but he expressed concern that the workforce capability will not get very far unless the workforce moves along with the projected growth and development. He said there is a need for interfacing between the users of labour and the trainers of labour. To this end, the government intends to work closely with the national training agency- HEART NTA and other training institutions to ensure that there will be a trained workforce capable of meeting the new challenges, he said.
Training Prime Minister Golding made these observations today (Oct 18) when he met with executive members of the Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) at Jamaica House. He noted that seventy five percent of the workforce is unskilled and he has put forward some recommendations as to how the training programmes could be enhanced to better serve the manufacturing sector.
Mr. Golding said there is the need to place emphasis on training as well as certification. One of the suggestions he said could be for employers to look at the possibility of investing in their employees in order to upgrade the quality of their workers. ‘If you are willing to put together a training programme, we would consider providing a contribution through HEART/NTA, whether it means sending the people to an institution or bringing the trainer to train the worker on the shop floor’. This could also be in the form of a tax incentive but he said government is ready to fine tune the details of such an incentive programme, working along with employers. Also addressing the meeting was Minister of Industry and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, who spoke about the positive response he has been receiving from the Spanish tourism investors on the work attitude of Jamaican workers in the tourist industry. Mr. Samuda said thousands of Jamaican workers were being employed by the Spanish hotels in Jamaica and the feedback on the skill level of the Jamaican worker, once he gets the training, has been excellent. Mr. Samuda noted that with Prime Minister Golding taking the lead as the driver in this new thrust, investors would see that Jamaica is serious and open for business.
Prime Minister Golding has charged Minister Samuda to put together a team and to sit down with the JMA to hammer out a framework for marketing, incorporating brand Jamaica. The team is also to look at the areas of packaging, procurement, and the issue of availability of factory space and then to report to him in time for an upcoming cabinet retreat. He said this team should look at the manufacturing sector and to identify areas that need to be strengthened as the pressure for global competitiveness intensifies.