AS Jamaica celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence, head of the HEART Trust/NTA Dr Carolyn Hayle has urged Jamaica's to alter the negative way in which they view the skilled professions.
In reflecting on the island's journey over the past five decades, she said it was past time that people cease to discriminate against those working in the skilled areas.
"We have a lot of work to do to get the broader society to understand that technical vocation is not something that you do because you can't do something else," Hayle told Career & Education.
At the same time, Hayle said managers of each local sector need to focus their attention on creating a culture in which skilled employees are treated better and feel more secure since it is they who oftentimes keep the economy going in the face of a brain drain.
"Research shows you that people who have higher self-actualisation, they tend to migrate because they go looking for greener pastures [though] once home is stable they will come back. However [skilled workers], that group of people will always remain in the country," she said. "The people who do not move are the people who keep the economy stable, so we have to find a way to let the technicians understand that they are very, very important to everybody's well-being."
Furthermore, Hayle said the labour laws need to be amended to reflect current realities in the world of work.
"In 1994, we moved from the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to trade services, so the whole issue of apprenticeship and all of those things need to move alongside the new trade regimes to make sure that there are occupational areas which are reflected in a manor that will support economic activity," she said.
At the same time, Hayle said that Jamaicans must begin to take entrepreneurship more seriously. The mindset, she said, must be to own one's business.
"That is the path to wealth creation," the HEART Trust/NTA boss noted.