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Education, training is the way forward

Education, training is the way forward

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This country will have to continue to make significant and increasing investment in education and training to get Vincentians ready to benefit from the shift from labour intensive to knowledge intensive jobs.{{more}}

Trevor Hamilton and Associates International Management Consultants, in a report prepared ‘On The Labour Market and Investment Study in St.Vincent and the Grenadines’ for Invest SVG, put forward this recommendation.

This is based on the fact that St.Vincent and the Grenadines is increasingly becoming a service economy, while agriculture’s contribution continues to diminish.

The consultants have warned that “if the current high level of undertrained Vincentians continues, it means that increasing job opportunities will have to be filled by foreign personnel, thus leaving Vincentians deprived of quality jobs and from benefitting from prosperity in economic growth”.

The consultants further contended that “the current high level of unemployment (about 23%) would also continue, since many would not have the requisite skills to become gainfully employed”.

They estimated the country’s labour force at approximately 63,000 persons or 52 per cent of the population, while the workforce was estimated at 49,000 or 40 per cent of the population.

Employment in this country has been growing at an average of 2.9 percent annually, with the range among sectors being from -2.9 percent to 15.3 percent, the report outlined.

“The overall growth rate of 2.9% is good, as it is approximately 3 times the population growth rate. This means that SVG’s unemployment rate could decline significantly over time, provided that its labour force is adequately trained to secure knowledge-based job opportunities,” said the report.

The report stated that the construction sector, which is a major economic driver, is growing at 6.8 per cent. Therefore, the demand for skilled building personnel will be very robust.

All the strategic sectors: construction, agriculture, education services, and hospitality are growing at 1.9 percent to 6.8 percent.

On the other hand, the Government sector’s employment has been growing at 3.5 percent. However, this is likely to grow at a slower pace in the medium and long term, the report predicted.

The following reasons were identified as the reason for this: Government is now operating with a very tight fiscal regime, because of the revenue fallouts arising from the consequences of the global financial crisis; the increased outsourcing of Government’s capital works; and plans by the Government to promote private investment in economic infrastructure in the future.

Employment for the immediate, medium and long-term future will therefore have to be primarily driven by the private sector, the report suggested.

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