J'can workforce not prepared to reap initial benefits from mega-projects, says Job Bank head
Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
Jamaicans are being warned not to expect to cash in immediately, on mega-projects such as the Logistics Hub being hailed by the Government as a major employment source.
The Government expects core aspects of the logistics hub project to be in place in time for the opening of the expanded Panama Canal in 2015.
However, head of the Job Bank, Leahcim Semaj, says it could take Jamaicans three years after that date before landing the big jobs that will be associated with the various aspects of the project.
He explains that the local workforce will have to defer to foreigners as Jamaicans would not be prepared, by 2015 to meet the job requirements that come with what he termed big-ticket items.
He laments that only approximately 12 per cent of high school leavers have five or more Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects paving the way for tertiary-level training.
He says this limits the number of Jamaicans who will be able to take advantage of the major employment positions that will come in the initial stages of the mega-projects.
Semaj argues that options required to grow small businesses are not convenient for politicians who use mega projects as instruments to seek reelection.
At a press conference last week, Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Anthony Hylton said educational transformations will be required in order for the local workforce to maximise employment benefits from mega-projects.
The proposed logistics hub project comprises a proposed dry dock for Jackson Bay in Clarendon, a commodities bay at Cow Port, St Thomas, improvements to the port of Kingston, establishment of the Caymanas Economic Zone and the development of Vernamfield.
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