Labour ministry urges youth to take up education, entrepreneurial grants

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Young people are being encouraged to take advantage of the education and entrepreneurial grants available through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to pursue higher education or establish small businesses.

“For persons, who are struggling to finance themselves, this programme is geared towards assisting you,” said senior labour market analyst in the ministry Shaine Palmer.

Palmer was addressing a ‘Life After Fifth Form’ career development exercise at the Holy Trinity High School in Kingston on Thursday, April 28.

The education grant assists with tuition fees for students in fifth and sixth form as well as those at the tertiary level.

In order to qualify for an education grant, individuals are required to undertake 30 hours of volunteer service at a golden age home, children’s home, or infirmary.

For the entrepreneurial grants, eligible individuals must be willing to participate in rigorous training provided by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

Palmer also advised students, who are leaving school this year, to utilise the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) to identify job opportunities. The LMIS links people with certified skills with local and overseas employers.

He said employment opportunities are available in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and tourism sectors.

“BPO is one of the fastest growing sectors in Jamaica that is absorbing a lot of persons right now. A lot of investments have gone into the sector,” he pointed out.

Currently, there are 40 companies in Jamaica that offer BPO services, with some 6, 400 jobs created in the sector since 2015.

Some of these jobs are: customer service representatives, call centre agents, information technology technicians, and telemarketers.

Palmer said that having a second language is an asset for people seeking jobs in call centres.

He noted that opportunities are available in the tourism sector for entertainment coordinators, tour guides, air conditioning technicians, and housekeepers.

In her remarks, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Colette Roberts Risden, encouraged the students to seek to gain a marketable skill.

“The fact is that employers need workers, who have the ability to perform well on the job so that their goods and services can be competitive, and that they can make greater and bigger profits to pay you better,” she said.