“We have underutilised capacity in our population which we must bring into the labour force in a structured and organised way,” said Prime Minister Holness.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is seeking to expand the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC), to facilitate the training of more young people and to promote the meaningful engagement of unattached youth.
Noting that Jamaica is currently experiencing challenges in meeting the demand for labour, the Prime Minister says the programme will ensure growth in the labour force, while simultaneously empowering our youth to be productive members of society. Importantly, the Prime Minister says the programme will absorb significant ‘leakage’ from the education system and divert young men from illicit activities including gang culture, the underground society, and a life of crime.
Prime Minister Holness says the challenge with labour could become chronic and could have significant negative impacts on Jamaica’s growth and development outlook.
Importantly, Prime Minister Holness clarified that, “It’s not that we are short of people; that’s not the problem. We are short of labour.”
In order to be counted as a part of Jamaica’s labour market, one must be 14 years or older and actively seeking employment over a specified period.
The Prime Minister stated that HEART NSTA, Jamaica’s human resource training institution, will be tasked with identifying and training young people to meet Jamaica’s labour needs. He acknowledged, however, that other options will also be explored.
Prime Minister Holness acknowledged that while the labour shortage is a good indicator of Jamaica’s positioning for economic take-off, the Government will not allow it to become a constraint on the country’s growth.
Considering this, the Prime Minister urged young people to consider the opportunities in emerging industries like construction, global services and hospitality. He noted that these could be viewed as gateways to their ideal areas of employment.
Prime Minister Holness was speaking on Wednesday (April 20, 2022) during his keynote address at the ground-breaking ceremony for the 7th RIU hotel in Jamaica – RIU Aquarelle, Trelawny.