Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Canada wants more skilled Jamaicans

Published:Friday | April 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM

SKILLS-TRAINING INSTITUTIONS are being urged to partner with the labour ministry in identifying where the new skills are needed in the Overseas Employment Programme.

Derrick Kellier, labour and social security minister, said during the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday that his ministry cannot find enough highly skilled, Class 1 tractor drivers or heavy-duty mechanics to satisfy the demand for these skills, particularly in the Western Provinces of Canada.

"To counter this, our local training institutions must endeavour to direct increasing numbers of trainees to these areas of training in preparation over the long term to take full advantage of the job opportunities available overseas," Kellier said.

The minister said skilled Jamaicans should "prepare themselves to take advantage of the demand of the new skills offerings in the non-traditional areas of the North American labour market".

Kellier also said the ministry will be undertaking a pre-selection exercise in July to recruit 2,000 persons for the Farm Work Programme.

Up to February of the 2014-2015 fiscal year, Kellier said some 13,854 Jamaicans were employed under the Overseas Employment Programme - with Canada accounting for 7, 085 workers.

He said throughout the same period, 97 drivers, heavy-duty mechanics and auto service technicians took up employment in Canada, while 177 persons were employed in the hospitality sector of that country.

"The numbers for the United States Agricultural and Hospitality programmes are also trending upwards as well, at 4,217 and 1,135, respectively," the minister said.