HEART being urged to visit construction sites to certify tradespeople | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Former President of the Incorporated Masterbuilders’ Association of Jamaica (IMAJ), Carvel Stewart, is pleading for the Human Employment and Resource Training /National Service Training Agency (HEART/NSTA) to visit construction sites locally to certify tradespeople who are already employed in the construction industry.

According to Stewart, an experienced civil engineer, this would help to alleviate the current shortage of certified workers, which he said has been caused by the boom in the local construction industry, with several major projects taking place across the island and, according to the Government, others are in the pipeline.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in a speech at the ground-breaking ceremony for RIU Aquarelle Resort in Trelawny late last month, stated that Jamaica could be forced to import skilled workers, as the country is facing a shortage of skilled labour, particularly in the construction sector.

Stewart, however, argued that there are quality workers already in the industry who only need to be certified, as they learnt their crafts through apprenticeship, not through the formal educational system.

“Jamaica has quality construction workers, but they are not certified. I believe HEART must visit construction sites and see what these tradesmen are doing, and then get them certified, as these people know what they are doing.

“This would be the best situation, as what is happening, these people are already working and have family and other engagements to take care of. Yuh can’t ask a man fi lef him job to guh get certified, and him can’t eat and feed his family when he does that. It nuh mek sense,” said Stewart.

“So the responsible agency, which is HEART, must make the effort to go to the sites and get them certified,” added Stewart said in an interview with Loop News.

Carvel Stewart

According to him, this would be a better option than the importation of skilled workers, as suggested by Holness.

Stewart said he believes the work that the local tradespersons deliver is of a higher standard than that which has been done by individuals who have been brought into the island over recent years.

He argued that the certification of local tradespeople is of even greater significance because of what he claimed to be deception on the part of some overseas entities that are bringing workers to the island. The deception, which Stewart suggested, is with some foreign contractors reportedly labelling imported regular labourers as skilled workers.

Stewart said that “practice” is taking away the jobs of local labourers on the overseas construction sites, which will further affect the industry nationally, as it is those workers who, when employed by local companies, go through the apprenticeship system to become a tradesperson.