Train locals while importing specific workers to grow economy, says Coke-Lloyd
Leading management consultant Dr Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd is calling for intense targeted training of Jamaican workers along with the importation of specific skill sets as part of the solution to encourage rapid growth of the local economy.
Dr Coke-Lloyd says a revision of education curricula at the secondary and tertiary levels is needed, as well as a look at what makes a wholesome society.
“There is unnecessary concern and panic regarding the importation of labour, as most growing successful and forward-thinking economies adopt this approach. Our own people migrate and are accepted elsewhere so we can be strategic in injecting new thinking, skills and innovation. Many employers are unable to attract, retain and develop the required talent so therefore we need a bridging mechanism at this time”, stated Dr Coke-Lloyd, who is managing director of Make Your Mark Group.
She was delivering the opening remarks at this year’s staging of the Middle Managers’ Leadership Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, which was also delivered online.
The hybrid conference, which is in its 13th year, is Jamaica’s premier management conference providing quality training and networking opportunities for middle managers across the region.
The two-day event was held under the theme “Leading from the Middle with Courage, Authenticity and Vision’, and aims to educate and upskill mid-management personnel about the essentials of team management, organisation growth, and management, and the tools needed to lead by example.
Dr Coke-Lloyd, a former CEO of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, noted that the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) also calls for the reorganisation of businesses, retraining of teams and retirement of absolute systems and processes.
“We are in an exciting but a time-sensitive period in our lives where we are called even more so now to execute our vision with courage and authenticity in order to maintain relevance,” she said.
Also speaking at the conference, Metry Seaga, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica commended Coke and her team for creating an incredible legacy in staging the conference for 13 years.
Underscoring the importance of the conference, Seaga revealed that a skills gap survey conducted in the first quarter of last year revealed that 42 per cent of respondents said that management leadership or project management as a primary skill required by their company. He said this finding was supported by data from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which said that of the top occupational jobs advertised, 185 were for managerial and supervisory positions.
Commenting on the new technologies disrupting the workplace at this time, Seaga noted that a survey done in 2020 showed that, by 2025, an estimated 85 million jobs will be displaced by technology, but that some 93 million jobs will be created during that same period. He urged companies to invest in their middle managers providing them with quality training and competitive salaries.
Senator Aubyn Hill, minister of industry, investments and commerce, who delivered the main address at the 13th staging of the Middle Managers’ Leadership Conference, noted that unemployment is at its lowest level in Jamaica’s history at about 6.5 per cent.
Minister Hill said the Government would be ramping up training of unskilled persons in the short term, and called on the private sector to do the same.
“Government is training people through apprenticeships but businesses must step up and train a lot more people”, Minister Hill said.