Ministry invests in unattached youth
In a time when various communities are under zones of special operations or state of emergency, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), through its Electronic Labour Exchange team - a part of the Ministry's Labour Market Information System - has been implementing life skills and career development training for youth in these and surrounding areas in Kingston and St. Ann.
During October and November, young people from communities within these parishes, between the ages of 18 and 29, were invited to participate in three-day workshops focused on improving soft skills. They were exposed to areas such as work ethics, job interview skills, building self-confidence and developing positive social skills. Following the intense workshops, the ministry also hosted mini job fairs with partner companies that exposed the youth to interviews and possible on-site hiring.
According to Gillian Corrodus, director of industrial relations & allied services, MLSS, "We at the ministry can understand the frustration of these youth - they want to work and they are willing to seek the opportunities. Through our partnership with New Opportunities for Youth Jamaica, our team has gained training in Passport to Success life skills, job-placement services, teaching strategies and career guidance services. Our team is excited to implement what they have learnt, and when they do, they can see the impact the workshops have on the confidence and willingness of these youngsters. We decided to take it a step further and offer job fairs with our partners and stakeholders, giving them direct access to gainful employment, or the experience of one on one interviews."
Leaders in education, business, and government agree that 'soft skills' training is one of the missing links contributing to today's talent gap. However, such programming is often scattered, insufficient or non-existent, leaving too many young people unprepared to get and keep a job.
Speaking at the ministry's roadshow, titled 'The Labour Department and You', Shahine Robinson, minister of labour and social security, highlighted the importance of soft skills in today's youth. "The gap identified is that of soft skills and the lack thereof, with emphasis being placed on customer service and empathy," stated Robinson.
"I want to tell you that the soft skills are the personal attributes - personality traits, inherent social cues and communication skills needed for success on the job. Soft skills include possessing a good attitude, the use of initiative, creative thinking, teamwork, decision-making, good work ethics, networking, positivity, time management, motivation, flexibility, problem-solving and conflict resolution," she further added.