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Prepare to retrain - Pearnel Charles

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

If you are currently unemployed, perhaps you will have to prepare yourself to be retrained in order to put food on your table and to protect your savings.

Minister of Labour Pearnel Charles has stated that Jamaica continues to experience the fallout of the global economic crises, adding that major sources of employment for 2010 will come from road works, energy support services and overseas employment. Retraining might be necessary, he said, for persons to benefit.

Speaking with
last week, he said that some 18,000 Jamaicans will soon benefit from a multi-million dollar road works project to be implemented.

He stated, "we are in a crisis, a worldwide recession. Short term projects such as road construction is what is viable for Jamaica at this time. We are making it possible for hundreds of workers to be retrained and re-scaled. Many will not find the same jobs."

Employment source

The minister said that the largest source of employment for Jamaicans will come from overseas sources in 2010.

He said that the first batch of 140 farm workers will leave for the United states this week and that he would also be journeying to Canada in the next seven days to "solidify" other employment opportunities for Jamaicans.

The latest labour market report of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) indicates that available jobs continued to decline between October and December 2009, completing three quarters of decline out of four, for the past year.

In the October to December 2009 quarter of the MLSS labour market report, all categories of workers, (except for skilled agricultural and fishery workers) showed a decrease in the number of vacancies.

The major declines were seen in plant and machine operators/assemblers, which decreased to 43, a reduction of 34.8 per cent from the previous quarter (66); professional occupations decreased to 488, a decrease of 31.7 per cent; and elementary occupational workers decreased to 206, a decrease of 26.4 per cent.

The decline reversed the increase seen in the July to September quarter, when a total of 1,533 positions were advertised, compared to 1,185 in the April to June quarter, a 29.4 per cent increase.

Rate of decline

The rate of decline for the last quarter was also less than the first quarter of the year, when occupational groups in all categories showed a higher reduction in the number of vacancies for the period compared to the previous quarter.

Unemployed workers who are willing to change their occupation may have some hope.

Under elementary occupational workers, janitors/handymen recorded a significant increase in advertised vacancies during the quarter, October to December 2009.

During previous quarters, top occupations advertised were maintenance workers, sales representatives, managers, domestic helpers and bartenders. New occupations in high demand during the quarter under review also included practical nurses and stores/stock clerks.