Train our people for the workforce - Shagoury
Issues involving apprenticeship training were brought to the fore during The Gleaner's Growth Forum, held on June 3 at the Versalles Hotel in May Pen, Clarendon.
Businessman William Shagoury said these matters needed to be addressed as they were affecting employment.
"We have a problem with our youths not learning a trade, and if they do go to HEART [Trust/NTA] and learn a trade, there is no follow-up."
According to him, there needs to be an apprenticeship programme to give young people necessary experience.
"There is no apprenticeship programme that will enable them to join the workforce. Nobody wants to take a student from HEART and then have to go and train them," Shagoury pointed out.
The businessman told the forum the problem was so severe that he was in a quandary to source about 100 welders for jobs in the United States, but none of the prospects he received from HEART had the experience needed.
According to him, all of them are grade-three welders with no experience listed.
"They are not going to get through with the job, because the unions are the ones that will put through the work permits for them, but it is very difficult to take someone green and put them in the programme," he said.
The businessman said it was time to get back to programmes that existed in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, where those marked for the workforce would be trained at sugar and bauxite companies.
"In truth and in fact, most of the people from bauxite came out of the apprenticeship programme," he said.