Prime Minister Andrew Holness is encouraging students to align their education and skills with the needs of the labour market.

“The probability of you leaving school and not being employed is getting smaller and smaller; so that means that when you leave school, you will get a job. Now the question is going to be, ‘alright, we now have jobs… but what about income?’ And to get high levels of income, you need to enter the world of work with higher levels of skills… and not just that, you need to make sure that your career choices and your training choices align with the future of work,” he said.

The prime minister made the remarks on Friday, September 15 while speaking with students of Kingston Technical High School which he visited, during a tour of Rose Gardens and Parade Gardens in downtown Kingston where the Project STAR (Social Transformation and Renewal) initiative is being implemented.

Holness said Jamaica’s labour pool is not adequate to meet the demands of the economy, noting that students who are going to graduate to enter the work force need to be highly skilled, well trained and aligned with industry needs.

“So even though we do have many jobs in the economy, there is some level of what is called structural unemployment, meaning that [youngsters] are leaving school with skills that are not relevant to the jobs that are available,” he noted.

Structural unemployment occurs when there is a mismatch between the jobs that are available and people seeking employment.

“So you have to make sure that you make the right choices for the jobs that are available in your economy. You have to align your education and your skills to the jobs that are going to be available in our economy,” the prime minister maintained.

Holness was accompanied on the tour by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang; Co-Chair and Sponsor of Project STAR, Keith Duncan; Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson, and other high-ranking officials of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), along with Kingston Central Member of Parliament, Donovan Williams, and other stakeholders.

Project STAR is a social and economic development initiative created by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) in partnership with the JCF.

The initiative is driven by beneficiary communities to bring about societal transformation through targeted interventions in under-resourced areas of Jamaica.

The initiative is expected to strengthen social cohesion within and resilience of beneficiary neighbourhoods, improve strategies for resolving conflicts and citizens’ responses to these interventions, and enhance community integration.

Source: Jamaica Information Service