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Labour ministry to engage stakeholders at forum in December

Friday, November 24, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is looking to engage employers, policymakers, curriculum developers and students at next month's Labour Market Forum, on key recommendations out of the recently completed labour market study.

The Labour Market Forum will be held on December 13 at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston under the theme 'Jamaican Employers and Educators, Working Together to Close the Skills Gap'.

Director of the Planning, Research and Monitoring Unit, Andrea Patterson-Morris, said the forum aims to facilitate a conversation among stakeholders about the existing skills gap, and establish solutions.

“We are hoping that at the end of it, employers will be more informed [and] also that the curriculum developers will be guided by what came out of the study, and jobseekers will be guided in making more informed career choices,” she said.

Patterson-Morris said the forum will also be used to encourage more employers to participate in labour market studies, in order to more accurately ascertain the needs of the job sector. The National Labour Market Study was commissioned last year and tabled in Parliament by Portfolio Minister, Shahine Robinson, in March this year.

Director, Research and Analysis, Simone McKenzie-Mair, said the study showed that employers report that jobseekers are largely ill-equipped for the workforce, by not having the requisite soft skills, having poor customer service skills, not being punctual and lacking in brand/company loyalty, all of which impact productivity.

She said lack of relevant work experience was also a concern among employers.

McKenzie-Mair said these issues will be addressed during the forum through a series of panel discussions. There will also be an international speaker, who will look at best practices in other jurisdictions and how these can be applied locally.

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