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Productivity push

Government targets youth in effort to increase competitiveness

Friday, November 22, 2019

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WITH low productivity listed as one of the factors behind the frequent depreciation in the value of the Jamaican dollar, the Government is pushing a multi-sectoral approach for an increase in the nation's productivity level, and the youth are at the forefront of this drive.

State minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Zavia Mayne, yesterday told a Jamaica Productivity Centre's National Youth Workshop at Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston that the Andrew Holness-led Administration has recognised that “a global approach must now be taken to address the issues of productivity — an approach which will embrace all the stakeholders in society”.

Mayne noted that Jamaica, for years, has struggled with low levels of productivity and underscored that this has been of concern to the Administration.

According to Mayne, the Government is supporting the Jamaica Productivity Centre, which is currently working on a National Policy for Productivity.

“This policy, it is hoped, will set the foundation for Jamaica to have a productivity-centred workforce where goods and services will be produced in keeping with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards throughout the economy,” said Mayne.

“We recognise that it will not be an overnight achievement. We recognise also that for this to be achieved that the preparation necessary for this to happen must be in place.

“The human capital, government policies and programmes, the upgrading and retrofitting of our factories and places of work, and a safe working environment are consequential to this achievement,” added Mayne.

Pointing to the theme of the workshop, “Future of Work: Jobs for Productivity Growth”, Mayne said this is a significant step in the right direction.

“A culture of productivity must integrate our youths if it is our intention to make productivity a hallmark of our development. So our theme is quite fitting. It embraces now and the future, as we all know and do appreciate that our youth is the future,” said Mayne.

“In recognition of this, there is the need to make certain that now and onwards, that as we grow the economy, create more jobs, that our efforts are in sync with global demand for jobs.

“There are some stark realities we have to face, which are presently upon us, and based on projections, the horizon is already changing significantly towards the need for us to become far more competitive in this age of globalisation,” declared Mayne.

The state minister argued that Jamaica needs to embrace this Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is not a passing trend or fad or a hoax.

“While we have focused on the need for globalisation and the widespread openings for employment all across the world, technological advancement has significantly impacted the demand and need for labour in many categories of work.

“We must train and develop our youths to fill the need in the market; we must endeavour to ensure that the training is one which can meet world-class standards, that the training for jobs is to symbolise the importance of productivity and not just acquiring a skill,” Mayne argued.

— Arthur Hall


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