'Beware bogus employment agencies'
LABOUR AND Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier has warned Jamaicans to be wary of organisations that appear overnight offering training and overseas employment without having them verified as legitimate.
Kellier was addressing the graduating class of Health Education and Counselling Institute (HECOIN) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre yesterday for 248 students who were trained to take up employment in Canada under the Temporary Overseas Employment programme.
"Too many times we have some fly-by-night institutions that come and set up their tents by morning and take it up in the night, and after you have come and made arrangements and handed over your hard-earned cash, some of you have to scrape up for yourself or borrow from your parents and friends and when you go back tomorrow morning, they disappear."
Kellier, however, warned that the ministry would not sit idly by.
"We are not going to allow that to continue in the Jamaica labour market," Kellier told the gathering.
Guard personal information
He warned that with identity theft on the rise, people should guard fiercely their personal information.
"Do not give personal details to anyone unless you know who you are dealing with, for in this age of identity theft, you have to guard your personal details very carefully." He advised that people should not be quick to surrender information and money to recruiters of no reputation.
"Let no one without a solid track record convince any of you to pay over money as guarantee of employment to Canada or the Canadian overseas employment programme."
He also entreated the graduates to become good ambassadors while on the programme, citing that its success depended on them.
"One thing that elite corps of workers do not do is to abuse their status. You have to act as ambassadors so that your brothers and sisters here can also get the opportunity to go on the programme."
He commended HECOIN for its excellent record of service and said the ministry would be seeking exploratory talks with the institution to broaden the scope of the programmes.
Kellier said labour-market surveys indicate that Canada has an ageing population and retires one million people annually, while it can only supply 696,000 for the job market, leaving a shortfall of more than 300,000.
He said this offered a wonderful opportunity for Jamaica to capitalise on.