Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubin Hill, says if more local businesses do not engage in training the country’s youth like entities overseas, then Jamaica could remain poor.
Hill says the ministry will be playing its part as the training and certifying of approximately 400 unattached youth will be pursued through a programme with the HEART/NSTA Trust.
This will form part of the ministry’s strategic objectives for 2023, which are to focus on not only the training of unattached youth for the business sector, but also increasing exports and local direct investments.
Hill made the overall appeal and announcements at the Industry, Investment and Commerce Ministry’s Rebranding and Quality Recognition Ceremony at the AC Hotel in Kingston last week.
“We need to take them (youth) in. HEART/NSTA is working out a programme that will start… this month,” he said.
“We must train, because the businesspeople say they want (to employ) people,” the minister added.
Early last year, major local businesses such as hotels, fast food chains and supermarkets, revealed that they were struggling to fill job vacancies, due in part to the unwillingness of workers to return to jobs they lost at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic for the same rates of pay, among other factors.
On the point of training, Hill said, too, that the business community must take greater responsibility for providing training opportunities for youth.
He explained that, “What I found is many businesses overseas, especially in developed economies, (and) some very astute emerging market economies… are training their people well.
“If we don’t, we’re going to remain poor. Those of us who are privileged to lead, must help them (the youth) get to a better place,” Hill urged.
Meanwhile, the senator said the Industry, Investment and Commerce Ministry will be looking to meet the targeted objectives for 2023 under its new unofficial brand, ‘Jamaica’s Business Ministry’, by collaborating with businesses, engaging trade missions, implementing legislative frameworks, and working closely with relevant agencies and departments.
Hill stressed the importance of increasing exports in order to significantly boost earnings generated for Jamaica.
“If we only keep selling to Jamaicans, we will never become a wealthy country. We cannot remain poor people… We must export to the world,” declared Hill.
As such, he revealed that the ministry and the relevant agencies will be advocating for more local direct investments as financial institutions continue to provide the private sector with more opportunities for accessing capital.
“The banks have a lot of money to lend, because the Government is not borrowing; we stepped out of the market.
“So, you (the private sector) can have all the money you want,” he indicated.
Hill advised that businesses are the “largest providers of money that the Government spends”, which requires the ministry to take a “laser-sharp focus” on helping, encouraging and facilitating these entities to excel and be profitable.