Fri | Jan 17, 2020

Logistics-hub initiative eyes diaspora

Published:Thursday | January 23, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

JAMAICANS COULD find themselves facing stiff competition for most of the top jobs that will flow out of the logistics hub initiative, from their relatives and friends now living abroad.

Dr Eric Deans, chairman of the Logistics Task Force in the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Commerce, served notice recently that there are some skills that will have to be recruited globally.

"That is going to happen," he declared, going on to point out how a reversal of the brain drain could dent the job prospects of many locals.

"We have this huge diaspora community who are eager to come back, with the skills, with the work ethics. (They want) to come back to Jamaica, to be the first beneficiaries of the opportunities that are coming on stream," he explained.

necessary skill sets

Deans said that indications from the industry analysis are that some of the necessary skill sets would not be readily available and, for this reason, the HEART Trust/NTA and Carib-bean Maritime Institute had been commissioned to help design and implement the necessary training curriculum. In addition, the task force is working with the Ministry of Education and some other tertiary-level training institutions to anticipate and meet the need for skilled workers in a number of areas.

However, with locals eagerly anticipating the logistics hub initiative for the job opportunities, a lot of them might be disappointed, according to Deans.

He told The Gleaner: "Initially, many of those skills will not be readily available. Right now, we have an unemployment rate of 16 per cent, but if a company wants to locate tomorrow in Jamaica, those unemployed persons wouldn't match per se the needs. It takes time to train those people."

However, he was confident about the Jamaican workforce getting up to speed in time to meet the needs of the logistics hub initiative.