Sun | Mar 24, 2019

Hub may disappoint locals without skills

Published:Saturday | January 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

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

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 would 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.

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 Caribbean Maritime Institute had been commissioned to help design and implement the necessary training curriculum. In addition, the taskforce is working with Ministry of Education and some tertiary level training institutions to anticipate and meet the need for skilled workers in a number of areas.

NO TRAINING TIME

Many locals are eagerly anticipating the logistics hub initiative for the job opportunities, but 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.