Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
In addressing some of the shortcomings that have resulted in high unemployment among tertiary students, Mark-Paul Cowan, who graduates this week from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, with a bachelor's degree in literatures in English and law, says more training for non-traditional jobs is needed.
Making reference to concerns raised recently by head of the Independent Commission for Investigations (INDECOM), Terrence Williams, who highlighted the need for experts in ballistics following a delay in the Vanessa Wint report, Cowan said for too long students have been coerced into traditional jobs.
Wint, a teenage ward of the state, committed suicide at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre last November.
Williams had said that a significant factor for the delay in completing the investigation was the 10-month wait for the final ballistics certificate from the Government's forensic laboratory.
Yesterday, addressing a Gleaner Editors' Forum, Cowan said the relevant stakeholders, including parents, have failed to properly educate students on being creative.
"If we had to wait 10 months - and, in some cases, up to two years - to provide a report in order to prosecute a case because we don't have trained ballistics experts, that, for me, is a sad situation. No investigation should take two years," Cowan told those in attendance at the forum held at the newspaper's North Street, Kingston offices yesterday.
Cowan was one of several students from the UWI who took part in the forum and who are scheduled to participate in the institution's graduation exercise tomorrow and Saturday.
"Then, there is the court process, which takes a long time. Why aren't we training persons to go in these areas where clearly there is a shortage of qualified personnel?" Cowan asked.
He added: "There are many other issues, but growing up, what was drilled into your heads was becoming a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer, and while that is important, there are other areas in which we lack trained workers, that are just as lucrative and rewarding."
ROOTED IN SOCIALISATION
Similarly, Jordan Senior, who is to graduate with a degree in actuarial science, said there has to be a way to change how persons are socialised.
"The socialisation is that we have to follow a specific route. The problem is, because the generation before us followed a particular pattern, a lot of your young remain boxed in, not having the ability to be creative and move from the traditional jobs," he said.
Cowan, therefore, suggested that more collaboration needs to be done in engaging the Ministry of Education and the private sector.
"There needs to be more collaboration on the part of the Ministry of Education and the private sector in engaging students, from as early as high school, on the resources needed and guide them towards areas that will develop the country," he said.