Sat | Dec 4, 2021

Changes in education vital for logistics hub

Published:Wednesday | January 22, 2014 | 5:00 PM

Richard Browne

Business Reporter

Jamaica’s education system needs to take a new approach to manpower planning, Dr. Fritz Pinnock, principal of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) told participants at a forum discussing the establishment of a logistics hub in Jamaica.

Addressing the forum at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston this morning, Pinnock said “there needs to be a new focus on education and skills, not either or. The future is about combining the two.”

He added that “education should teach people how to think, not what Credentialing and skill building is gaining stream” and technical high schools need a new focus.

According to Dr. Pinnock, 60 per cent of the jobs in 10 years from now “haven’t been invented yet.” Many jobs have already disappeared over time, including elevator operators, long distance operators, key punch operators, encyclopedia salespersons, telegraph operators, typesetters and radio actors, he said.

“There is a global talent shortage,” he said, noting that Jamaica is struggling to graduate 350 engineers per year, as opposed to 600,000 in China and 350,000 in India per year.

The top 10 jobs globally include skilled trades, sales representatives, technicians and engineers, Dr. Pinnock said, adding that “skills are the future.”

The CMI principal said 70 per cent of Jamaican university degrees are pursued in the liberal arts. “It’s good you know, but what are we going to do with it?” he asked, noting that by 2020 nearly half of all employment will be in highly skilled roles.

Lenworth Tracey, director of strategic initiatives and business development at the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), also speaking at the forum, said a highly skilled and well-trained workforce is a critical pillar of a planned logistics hub, and the UCC is planning to increase its educational offerings for that sector.

In Dubai, he said, 70 per cent of those employed in the logistics sector are foreigners. This may not be something Jamaica want, Tracey said, but it could exceed that if it doesn’t plan properly.

“For its part the UCC has moved to leverage its structure and its unique business model towards addressing these changing times”, he said.

The UCC currently offers academic programmes geared towards logistics, including a bachelor’s degree in logistics, short courses in entrepreneurship, and other programmes in conjunction with the CMI.

The UCC will have 60,000 square feet of new space opening up in April at its New Kingston campus.