Career & Education

Skills key to success in changing world — Green

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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Many believe that the fourth industrial revolution is on its way, but State Minister with responsibility for youth in the ministry of education, youth and information Floyd Green believes it's already here because of the major role in plays in everything, from science and industry to education and entertainment.

In that context, Green, who was keynote speaker at the HEART Trust/ NTA World Youth Skills Day 2018 exposition at the Garmex Academy on Tuesday, emphasised the importance of acquiring new skills in emerging careers.

The majority of these emerging jobs are technology based, while others are updated or advanced versions of traditional ones. Some of them to which he pointed, based on information from HEART Trust/ NTA and UNEVOC which collaborated on the annual event, are hydroponics, mechatronics, mobile robotics, digital animation, 3D printing, and photovoltaic installation.

Green argued that while there might not be place enough to absorb all the talent in Jamaica post training, there are countless opportunities abroad.

“We will have jobs to retain people but we should also look further afield because there may be areas where we are saturated — because we are a small economy — but the world needs. So what better way to way to expand your reach than to have your people there,” Green told the J amaica Observer.

“We want to retain our best and brightest, but we also have clear expertise in training... so we also can look at where in the world there are specific needs [and despatch our people there],” Green continued.

World Youth Skills Day is reserved for the celebration of youths who are practising diverse skills either to satisfy a passion or earn a living. It also serves as encouragement for other young people to become involved in skill development.

The day's activities included presentations on a range of skills, and booth displays.

According to HEART Trust/NTA, the aim is to target young people aged 15-25 to appreciate the value of acquiring skills so they can achieve personal success and fulfilment.

“We have been tracking where the world is going and we are recognising that in this the fourth industrial revolution where technology is so [pervasive] and so much a part of everything that we do, the reality is that some jobs are going to be disappearing and some jobs are going to be emerging. The skills areas have the most to gain and benefit [from],” Green told Career & Education.

It is a reality which he said should be accepted sooner than later in order to secure a more prosperous future. Illustrating the point, Green said the unemployment rate has moved from 13 per cent to nine per cent over the past year, and skilled work contributed significantly.

He conceded, however, that the acquisition of a skill in and of itself is no guarantee for success.

“There is no guarantee, but it clearly gives them the best chance,” he said.

The minister argued further that the habit of sending children who are considered academically successful into traditional career areas —many of which are saturated and perhaps irrelevant, while sending those not academically inclined to practise skills, should cease.

“There is a reality in Jamaica that we have treated some careers areas like “second-class citizens”, Green said, adding that while many Jamaicans devalue skilled jobs, other countries like Canada, which has based its current immigration recruitment drive on skills, have made good use of them.

“Worldwide there is a shortage of well-trained chefs, sous chefs... worldwide there is even a shortage of drivers. Some of the traditional areas that again require significant skills, certification, training, those will become much more important. Even farming is way past the traditional look,” said Green.

For her part, managing director of HEART Trust/NTA Dr Janet Dyer, herself a former student of the training institution, emphasised the role it has played in preparing youngsters for emerging jobs.

“We want to ensure that our young people in Jamaica get all the opportunities that are available — to ensure that you become trained, certified and employed,” said Dyer.

World Skills Day was celebrated with the hashtag #SkillChangesLives.

— Jessica Timoll

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