Hill urges local companies to train more Jamaicans

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Jamaican companies need to “step up to the plate” and ensure the training of more locals, says Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill.

“We have 300/400,000 young people, mainly young men. We need to train them, and Jamaican companies need to step up,” he stressed.

Senator Hill maintained that “if you don’t train them [and] you don’t look after them”, this could have potential implications.

He was speaking on Wednesday during the opening of the first physical Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA) Business Accelerator Centre (BAC) at Kingston Wharves Limited.

Hill said the removal of fees for HEART-NSTA Trust courses up to Level IV (associate degree), as announced by Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, during his 2023/24 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives, is indicative of how the Government is “repurposing [and] spending a lot of money” to encourage training among citizens.

“As I do everything to make business work in Jamaica, [and] as I make sure consumers are protected, I’m saying to businesses – train a lot more,” he maintained.

Hill congratulated the JSEZA on establishing the BAC, while welcoming the investment made in Jamaica’s export market.

For her part, the JSEZA’s Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kelli-Dawn Hamilton, stated that the authority’s primary goals are to train Jamaicans, grow investments in the country as well as exports, and create an enabling business environment.

“Our organisation is committed to doing that, and we can only do that with partnership through entities like Kingston Wharves,” she said.

Hamilton added: “We stand here, not just as the entity that drives the growth of special economic zones in Jamaica but we stand here as Jamaicans who are seeds of the vision to make Jamaica a global logistics hub.”

“The truth of the matter is, if we don’t have entities coming into the special economic zone, we [will] never realise the growth that we are expected to facilitate and encourage,” she maintained.

With the establishment of a BAC, companies will be able to access efficient and expedited support services, allowing them to complete their respective operations in the most accurate and time-efficient manner.

Additionally, customers will have a better understanding of the logistics benefits available with additional services offered to them through the initiative.

“We want to be on the ground, to be able to assist our special economic zone entities… to help our partners to grow their businesses,” Hamilton said.

Pointing out that, “we cannot grow unless we are in front of the people who are driving business”, she explained that through the BAC, the JSEZA will also be the point of contact between Kingston Wharves and users within the special economic zone and the relevant government services.

Wednesday’s grand opening brought together representatives of Kingston Wharves Limited and JSEZA to highlight the partnership between the entities as well as solidify the agreement that governs the smooth operations.

This is intended to achieve the Government’s overall objective of the ease of doing business within Jamaica.

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