JAMAICA | Holness Tasks a revived National Youth Service to Train Skilled workmen

JAMAICA | Holness Tasks a revived National Youth Service to Train Skilled workmen

KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 22, 2022 - Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is seeking to expand the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC), to facilitate the training of more young people and to promote the meaningful engagement of unattached youth.

Noting that Jamaica is currently experiencing challenges in meeting the demand for labour, the Prime Minister says the programme will ensure growth in the labour force, while simultaneously empowering our youth to be productive members of society. Importantly, the Prime Minister says the programme will absorb significant 'leakage' from the education system and divert young men from illicit activities including gang culture, the underground society, and a life of crime.

Prime Minister Holness says the challenge with labour could become chronic and could have significant negative impacts on Jamaica’s growth and development outlook.

Importantly, Prime Minister Holness clarified that, “It’s not that we are short of people; that’s not the problem. We are short of labour.”

In order to be counted as a part of Jamaica’s labour market, one must be 14 years or older and actively seeking employment over a specified period.

The Prime Minister stated that HEART NSTA, Jamaica’s human resource training institution, will be tasked with identifying and training young people to meet Jamaica’s labour needs. He acknowledged, however, that other options will also be explored.

Prime Minister Holness acknowledged that while the labour shortage is a good indicator of Jamaica’s positioning for economic take-off, the Government will not allow it to become a constraint on the country’s growth.

Considering this, the Prime Minister urged young people to consider the opportunities in emerging industries like construction, global services and hospitality. He noted that these could be viewed as gateways to their ideal areas of employment.

Prime Minister Holness was speaking on Wednesday (April 20, 2022) during his keynote address at the ground-breaking ceremony for the 7thRIU hotel in Jamaica – RIU Aquarelle, Trelawny.

The National Youth Service (NYS) was established in 1973 by the Michael Manley administration, in an effort to tackle the problem of the lack of skills among the island's youth amidst major concerns about the high level of youth unemployment, academic underachievement, the lack of training opportunities for young people and their escalating trend toward anti-social behaviour.

The NYS functions primarily as a means of providing career opportunities for youth between the ages of 17 and 24. The specific youth group being targeted by the NYS is comprised of those who have completed high school but wish to access invaluable training or work experience or those who simply want to further their studies.

the National Youth Service (NYS) was re-launched in 1995 after being abandoned by the JLP for some twelve years. The organization equip youths with the necessary life coping skills to foster their personal and career development as well as enhance their contribution to community and national development.

A recent trace study conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has revealed that approximately 60 per cent of youth who participate in the programmes that the National Youth Service (NYS) operates, either go on to being employed on a full-time basis or pursue higher learning in tertiary institutions.

Executive Director of NYS, Reverend Adinhair Jones said, ” the national figure for those who transit to tertiary studies now stands at 17 per cent.” He noted that many of the young persons who were affiliated with NYS exceeded the national average of youth enrollment in tertiary colleges and universities.

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