Prepare now for opportunities to come – Manchester businesswoman
Prominent Manchester businesswoman Wendy Freckleton is urging stakeholders in St Elizabeth to be innovative in their thinking as they seek to create employment opportunities via the various developmental programmes in the pipeline for the parish.
Freckleton, past president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told a Gleaner forum at the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation in Black River last week that proper preparation is key to the creation of employment opportunities.
"As you look at employment, we have to start training, not just for the jobs that exist, but the jobs to come," said Freckleton. "When you look at Manchester, the business process outsourcing (BPO), we have Sutherland Global (services) expanding there.
"Speaking with the persons in charge of preparing talent for the company, what they found was that, instead of expanding in Manchester, they might have to go to another parish, which we don't want," said Freckleton, in explaining that in terms of meeting the employment needs, Manchester was lacking.
"What they found was that out of every 100 persons they interviewed, they can only employ about 10," explained Freckleton. "Another challenge they found was that there are times when students had the subjects, but they don't have the talent; [some] have the talent; [but] no subject, or have talent and subject, but cannot speak English."
Freckleton said persons should look at job opportunities they expect to open up and start preparation ahead of the various projects coming on stream.
"So, we can look all we want on the types of persons needed for a job, but if we don't take seriously the education aspect and begin training for the future jobs, we might end up in serious problems," said Freckleton. "I want to encourage St Elizabeth to start training for jobs in areas such as the data entry business."
Currently, the BPO sector accounts for approximately 22,000 jobs, which is 80-90 per cent more seats than existed two years ago. The overall expectation is that the employment numbers will jump to 100,000 by 2022.