Labour force being equipped with in-demand skills
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz says that the Government is working to ensure that the local labour force is equipped with the skills that are demanded by investors.
As such, he says that strategic partnerships have been forged with the Jamaica Manufacturing Association (JMA) and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) to aid in the setting up of a sector skills council.
Vaz said that establishment of the body is part of recommendations arising from the Labour Market Forum held in April through contribution from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He said that apprenticeship programmes would be created with support from the private sector "to address skill gaps experienced by employers, (which) will lead to greater employment".
Vaz was speaking at the official opening of Honey Bun Limited's new US$1 million warehouse facility at its Retirement Crescent headquarters in Kingston on Thursday.
He said that the Government is continuing its pursuit of policies that would boost job creation and economic growth.
"These policies are (already) bearing fruit as unemployment continues to trend downwards. In January this year, the unemployment rate was 9.6 per cent, the lowest it has been for at least a decade. This figure represents a decrease of 3.1 per cent when compared to 12.7 per cent in 2017," he indicated.
CONFIDENCE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN THE ECONOMY
Vaz commended Honey Bun on the new facility, which, he said, "signals the confidence of the private sector in the economy".
The 11,500 square-foot space, built on the site of the former studio of veteran reggae producer Joe Gibbs, will enable Honey Bun to increase production and exports as well as boost employment by 100 persons.
Honey Bun executive chairman Herrbert Chong said that the new warehouse would enable the company to operate at maximum capacity, "utilising every inch of space in the most effective way".
It has been named in honour of the company's late non-executive board member and mentor to the board, Sushil Jain.
Founded in 1982, Honey Bun is the fastest-growing wholesale bakery in Jamaica, specialising in producing packaged pastries and baked snacks. It is the first Jamaican bakery to be Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points certified, and became publicly listed on the Jamaica Junior Stock Market in 2011.
Chong said that through the junior market , the company has been able to realise "many of its accomplishments".