BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau email@example.com
ROSE HALL, St James — Labour and Social Security Minister Derrick Kellier says the lack of training of the country's labour force has reached crisis proportions, noting that according to the 2012 Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC) report, more than 70 per cent of the island's labour force was not certified in 2010.
"Even more disturbing is the fact that the survey discovered that
60 per cent of persons in the 14-19 age group; 46 per cent in the 20-24 age group, and 89 per cent in the age group 60 and over, did not have certified skills," he added.
Kellier was addressing the graduating class of the Health, Education and Counselling Institute (HECOIN) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Sunday.
He told his audience that without training, there is little chance of success in the "brave new world of the twenty-first century," adding that the country has a lot of work to do to get the labour force equipped and ready for the job opportunities that are on the horizon at home and overseas.
He urged Jamaicans to approach the business of skills training in a scientific way, as doing so will assist in securing jobs in both markets.
"By this I mean, don't just go out and get trained for training sake.
Training in the twenty -first century must be demand driven and evidence- based," he pointed out.
Added Kellier: "That is to say, you must first and foremost endeavour to find out where the new job opportunities are. In what sectors of the economy — local and international — are they located? What is the future prospect for growth in these sectors, what skills-set are needed to access the jobs that are available?"
The labour and social security minister said if that is not done, people in desperation to succeed in life will sometimes get trained and or, certified, in skills and proficiencies that are incompatible with the needs and trends of the rapidly changing job market.
"What happens next is that, unable to find jobs that will utilise their skills — because the needs of the labour market have changed -- they become disillusioned, frustrated, and angry," he stressed.