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Green: Jobs will go but skills are irreplaceable

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
State Minister for Education Floyd Green (left) gets assistance from Jenelle Hinds of the Caribbean Maritime University in operating this robot at the World Youth Skills Day held at Garmex Heart Academy yesterday.

Not enough respect is being shown to skill-based careers in the changing job market where technology is altering the relevance of some positions, and a failure to adopt will place Jamaica at a disadvantage, warns state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green.

He told youths celebrating World Youth Skills Day 2018 at the Garmex HEART Academy in Kingston yesterday that jobs that were deemed important in the past were quickly disappearing, and only the ones based on skills would remain irreplaceable.

"So when we talk to you about embracing skills, we are not telling you because we don't want you doing well in life. We are saying what the new reality is now," Green said. "Some professions will always be around, but there is a reality in Jamaica that we have treated [workers in] some areas like second-class citizens," Green said.

He said that it was important that parents understood that there was no disgrace or disrespect to them if children were urged to pursue skill training as potential career path.

"When we see our children doing well, we instruct them to go after certain careers, maybe the traditional professions, and a lot of those areas we urge them to get into are saturated and are irrelevant," noted Green. "Inculcating a mindset change ... is the primary focus in getting persons to understand the value in skills training and certification," he added.

Green said that starting this September, the education ministry would roll out a robust Career Training Programme in secondary schools, the aim of which is to further solidify skill training as the new dynamic in a fast-changing world.

"We have already started reforming our secondary education. The minister [of education] has been championing that; we want more of our children leaving schools with associate degrees that are aligned to the marketplace in relation to the skills areas," he said.

Part of that effort, Green stated, was to introduce more technical and vocational training in schools from as early as grade nine, where students go after subject areas that are more aligned with the HEART Trust/NTA curriculum.

"The Government is expanding access to skills training, making sure that any young persons who wants to go into skills has that avenue. During the World Youth Skills Day event yesterday, practical sessions were showcased, with students being introduced to hydroponics, mechatronics, robotics, digital animation, cosmetology, and mobile application.