Finance State Minister Welcomes App for Young Jobseekers

Finance and the Public Service State Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams, has welcomed the Labour and Social Security Ministry’s planned development of a mobile app targeting young jobseekers that will make it easier for them to be matched with employment.

Mrs. Williams anticipates that the Labour Market Information System app, slated for roll-out during the first quarter of the 2018/19 fiscal year, will go a far way in reducing the amount of time persons spend searching for jobs.

She pointed out that the app will guide them to where the opportunities are, as well as help to decrease any resulting frustration experienced if they are either unsuccessful or encounter protracted delays in gaining employment.

“But more importantly, this mobile app has the potential to increase better matching of skills,” the State Minister said.

She was speaking at an ‘OPM-Live’ mini town hall meeting, organised by the Office of the Prime Minister at Jamaica College on November 29.

Mrs. Williams, who is also Member of Parliament for the area, said data showed that jobs were being generated in a number of sectors, including agriculture; finance; mining and quarrying; manufacturing; hotel and restaurant services; transport; storage and communication; electricity, gas and water; and health and social work.

In this regard, she urged young people desirous of entering the employed labour force to equip themselves with the requisite skills through training.

“The jobs are being created, and there are more jobs coming. But you have to do your part by relentlessly developing your stock of skills,” the State Minister added.

Mrs. Williams noted that of the entire labour force, totalling a record 1,371,300 persons according to July 2017 data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), 577,300 persons are under the age of 34.

Additionally, she said of the record 1,216,200 persons who are employed, 469,500 persons are 34 years old.

“Obviously, we are very happy for the ones that are gainfully in a job. But building a prosperous Jamaica requires that we find opportunities for the 107,800 who are in the labour force and obviously want to work but have not found a job yet,” the State Minister said.

Against this background, Mrs. Williams stressed the need to ensure that unemployed youth gain jobs quickly for “some obvious reasons”.

Chief among these, she explained, is that a greater number of employed persons will result in more disposable income flowing into the economy.

The State Minister further said that this will create more opportunities for consumption and investment, which feed into business expansion “creating a virtuous cycle”.

“The not-so-obvious reason is that when individuals enter the labour market as adults, a lifetime of deficient skills accumulation can take a toll on their productivity in the workplace. This is findings from a 2015 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study,” she added.

Mrs. Williams contended that skills are the “backbone” of the economy, adding that they are a “key driver and determinant of economic growth and income stability”.

She further argued that the Government has the “right focus” on initiating programmes tailored to boost the skill levels of persons entering the labour market.

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