Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Douglas McIntosh July 12, 2014

Tertiary institutions are being urged to provide the necessary training to prepare  workers for jobs which the Logistics Hub Initiative is expected to generate.

Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, emphasized that tertiary institutions must play a “major role” in the development  of the special economic zones (SEZs), deemed central to the hub’s success, by training the local workforce to world class standards.

The Minister was speaking at the University of Technology (UTech) Logistics Hub panel discussion on the campus on July 10, held under the theme: ‘Exploring Human Capacity Building Opportunities’.

Noting the global marketplace’s “readiness” for Jamaica’s elevation to being the fourth node in the global supply chain, Mr. Hylton said implementation of the logistics hub will have a “far-reaching impact” in transforming the economy and society, “and will influence our human capacity development…an inevitable outcome of implementing this initiative.”

The Minister pointed out that several integrated mixed use or specialized large-scale SEZs will be established to promote value-added industries capable of generating employment, export growth, and food and energy security.

“One primary focus of the SEZs will be on human capital development. We believe our tertiary institutions can and must play a major role in improving the attractiveness of these special economic zones by providing the necessary training at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels,” he argued.

Complementing this will be the development of apprenticeship programmes for students desirous of increased exposure to the range of industries that will “gain a foothold” in the SEZs, the Minister said.

He noted that the City and Guilds of London Institute in the United Kingdom, through its local office, has partnered with the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), under an expanded collaboration  with the Ministry of Education, to introduce  a “culturally relevant” Mathematics and English curricula for Jamaican students.

This, the Minister argued, is critical to developing a well trained and certified Jamaican workforce, within the context of the current global dispensation.

Mr. Hylton pointed out that as the logistics hub development proceeds, the administration is “seeking to ensure that as many (job) positions as possible are filled by Jamaicans.”

In this regard, he emphasized the need for the necessary research to be undertaken, and for immediate action to be taken “to seize the many opportunities that are to come.”

“The charge, therefore, is for our tertiary institutions, which are already engaged through the Education Committee of the Logistics Task Force, to find out the needs of the companies or sectors that will utilize the SEZs, and to provide the relevant courses or training,” the Minister added.

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