Election Questions on Jobs

The number one concern of most Jamaicans is the lack of employment opportunities; even those who have made the sacrifice of funding their university education have found themselves unemployed after graduation. It is therefore important that we ask the right questions of our future leaders concerning this critical area.

We recognize that job creation usually goes hand in hand with economic growth and thus our first question will be “how do you propose to grow the economy?” Job creation without sustained economic growth will not last for very long but as we have often seen, growth does not always lead to job creation. We therefore need to ask an additional question – What type of industries do you propose to go into to create jobs and what level of jobs will be created? Although tourism has been our main stay for many years, in many ways the benefits have not trickled down to the workers at the lowest levels.

I believe that both governments have done a poor job of ensuring that as many sectors as possible benefit from tourism. It is therefore necessary to ask “what are the plans that the party has to spread the benefits of tourism to more persons. The idea here is that the agriculture sector, food services, craft markets and tourist attractions need to maximize the return that they make from tourism. Currently too much of our food for the tourist market is imported and the same is true for much of the furniture used in the hotels. Any plan for the tourist sector must include ideas of how to assist these sectors to be more efficient and productive in order to meet the demands of the sector.

Job creation however is not a static process; one does not simply learn a skill and work for the rest of one’s life. There is a need for the constant upgrading of the labour force. Thus we would like to know “what plans the parties have regarding skills training especially in light of the fact that so many of our young persons are graduating from high school with little or no qualifications at all?” What about the technical jobs such as electricians, masons, plumbers, carpenters, hair dressers etc; are there any plans in place to create more jobs in these areas.? These jobs have often been looked down upon by society but can in fact provide a good source of income for many young persons. There is a need for more training programmes similar to those used at the HEART academies.

If we are going to create jobs then we need to recognize our limitations and make our plans accordingly. Where your labour force is largely unskilled then initially jobs will be at the lower levels but additional training will increase the opportunities for career advancement.

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admin Posted by: admin December 12, 2011 at 7:00 am