By Oroyo Eubanks, JIS, April 11, 2014
- Thousands of unemployed Jamaicans are benefiting from the services of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s job matching facility.
- Since January 2014, the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) website - www.lmis.gov.jm - has received more than 17,774 hits, and attracted more than 11,960 new visitors.
- With the growing demand for jobs in the economy, the LMIS is meeting its mandate of facilitating access to employment for all Jamaicans.
Thousands of unemployed Jamaicans are benefiting from the services of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s job matching facility, which links persons with certified skills, with local and overseas employers.
Since January 2014, the Labour Market Information System (LMIS) website – www.lmis.gov.jm – has received more than 17,774 hits, and attracted more than 11,960 new visitors.
With the growing demand for jobs in the economy, the LMIS is meeting its mandate of facilitating access to employment for all Jamaicans.
In an interview with JIS News, Acting Director of the LMIS, Simone McKenzie, says a number of jobs are available in the market, but are not being filled because the required skills are lacking.
She says the LMIS data gathering mechanism shows that there is increasing demand for workers in areas such as sales, promotion, customer service, and accounting.
“In the hotel industry there is need for executive chefs, persons with foreign languages such as Spanish, bartending, water sports and lifeguards. Science, foreign language, and mathematics teachers are also in high demand across the island as well as medical technologists,” she informs.
With the development of the Jamaica Logistics Hub, Ms. McKenzie says opportunity exists for crane operators, truck drivers, computer programmers, freight forwarders, customer service representatives, accountants, computer programmers, and custom brokers.
“For the services area we usually have adequate number of persons, but there is an issue with the specialised skill areas. For example you have schools and call centres that are still not able to fill posts for foreign language specialists,” Ms. McKenzie noted.
The Acting Director says this provides space for skilled Jamaicans to register on the LMIS website for free, and to prepare to meet potential employers.
Ms. McKenzie highlights that most Jamaicans who have difficulty finding a job often have poorly constructed resumes. She says this has necessitated the LMIS widening its objectives to include training in resume writing, and interviewing skills.
“It could also mean that the individual lack proper job search technique. We therefore provide information online and off-line through job readiness sessions and consultations,” she explains.
The LMIS website, which has a user-friendly format, requires job seekers to do a basic registration online and upload their skills and other data into a template, then access information on available jobs.
Administrator of the Electronic Labour Exchange (ELE), which facilitates the matches through the LMIS, Charlene Dennis, tells JIS News that employers who use the ELE have access to a database of skilled workers, and are also able to post job vacancies online. They can also take advantage of the offline services available at the Ministry’s offices island wide.
“We also have trained officers who can assist the employers to search the website and post their vacancies online,” she says.
Ms. Dennis emphasises that Employer Service Representatives in the ELE are responsible for keeping in touch with potential and current employers, in order to constantly update available vacancies on the website.
For job seekers the online services include: Tips on resume writing, preparing for interviews, and job search; and counselling.
Offline services through the ELE include computer facilities to post resumes and conduct job search at any of the Ministry’s offices, career development activities for secondary schools, and workshops.
Ms. Dennis notes that because not all persons who register online will be matched with an employer, the LMIS assists persons who want to start a business with information about areas they can venture into, and where to get financial assistance.
She says some areas that are now more lucrative for entrepreneurs are web page designing, animation, agro-processing, poultry and cattle rearing, beekeeping, as well as planting of fruit trees, ginger, yam, sweet potato, and Irish potato.
“We help to bring out the entrepreneurship side of our applicants, they may have a skill but they may need to just develop that skill, and earn an income from that skill,” she explains.
As part of its mandate to facilitate access to employment, the LMIS has participated in career development activities for many schools island wide. In particular, it has been working closely with the Holy Trinity High School in Kingston.
The programme is carried out on the premise that once the students enter school, they are introduced to career development programmes, to enable them to choose appropriate subjects, and select programmes wisely when they move to tertiary or vocational institutions.
“This is to ensure that they venture into careers which are in demand,” Ms. McKenzie says.
As part of the initiative with Holy Trinity High, the LMIS has assisted students who performed well, with obtaining scholarships. Two students were awarded scholarships to attend tertiary institutions last year.
While the LMIS continues to move forward with its newly upgraded website, which is more user friendly, there are plans for further development in phase two. This will include providing more relevant and timely labour market intelligence.
The LMIS phase two, will partner with agencies such as the Social Development Commission (SDC), the Jamaica Library Service, and the HEART Trust NTA, which have access to persons at the community level. It will also see the establishment of satellite stations across the island, where the services of the LMIS can be accessed for free.
Ms. McKenzie adds that “we are also trying to find the most feasible way of reaching the community through mobile bus or otherwise, because not everyone can afford the internet and access libraries and schools.”
In 2011, the LMIS was recognised in a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) article for its progress in several areas, including one-stop shop for users, user-friendly features, easy accessibility, and efficient data management capabilities.