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School leavers encouraged to look to Internet for jobs

Published:Wednesday | May 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
David Wan
Yaneek Page
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Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

As thousands of students enter the final stretch of their studies in secondary and tertiary institutions, they are being encouraged to consider new and emerging fields to find employment.

Yaneek Page, workforce innovation and entrepreneurship consultant, said young people will find it difficult earning a living if they are solely dependent on finding jobs in traditional markets.

"Not because you have done a course of study or you've done a certain programme you are entitled to a job in that area. That's not the case. You are not entitled to anything and it just means you are going to have to look for opportunities wherever they are and be prepared to learn new skills," she stated.

Page, who is also managing director of Future Services International, said new graduates should seriously consider what special skills they have and look to the World Wide Web to market and earn.

"Freelancing is huge ... . There are specific websites where you can earn in US dollars. But the first thing is understanding what the market wants and then evaluating your skills and if there is a gap, you will need to learn new skills same place online," she added.

TOP TARGET AREAS

In addition to these areas, Page said renewable energy and innovation in the agriculture sector should be top of the list of target areas for those about to leave schools.

David Wan, president of the Jamaica Employers' Federation, who argued that he does not foresee youth unemployment figures dipping below the 30 per cent mark anytime soon, supported Page's views.

Wan told The Gleaner that graduates should focus on their skills beyond the basic qualifications they earned during school and see how they can put these to use.

"There are many [entrepreneurial ventures], and smart would-be entrepreneurs need only to focus on the high-growth areas - social media outsourcing and solar energy equipment supply and repairs are two areas that come to mind," Wan explained.

The Ministry of Education has indicated that more than 41,000 students are expected to leave high school at the end of June. Between the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology, more than 6,000 undergraduate students are expected to graduate this year. HEART Trust/NTA certification data for its 2013-2014 financial year show that more hand 27,000 persons received qualifications during that year.

However, both Page and Wan said several of these graduates could possibly find jobs in the business process outsourcing sector.

"I would speculate that call centres will provide a significant number of jobs in the short term, as many companies move from distant (India, Philippines) outsourcing points to near-shore locations, particularly those that speak English," Wan stated.

jermaine.francis@gleanerjm.com