JA youth talk tough employment market


Yesterday at Youth Opportunities Unlimited’s office, 25 young people gathered to discuss employment. To be specific, they discussed a dire lack of employment opportunities in Jamaica. The unemployment rate for young people in Jamaica is horrific: 40 per cent, according to the latest figures, so consultations with youth are a valuable tool in uncovering the reason for such high levels.

The consultation occurred in partnership with YOU partner Cuso International, which has worked with this NGO for over a decade. (Cuso International matches YOU with professionals from Canada who possess the skills and abilities that can aid YOU in capacity building and achieving sustainability. I am currently placed there as a Communications Advisor.)

Cuso International is currently launching its new strategy, an important component of it being the inclusion of youth voices, says Country Representative Tarik Perkins. As a result, Cuso is conducting baseline surveys of inner city youth who are beneficiaries of its partnerships.

“We are trying to get a qualitative sense of what the issues are,” says Cuso advisor and Guyana native Lloyda Nicholas. Cuso’s current strategy, and the one going forward, includes three thematic areas: access to justice; participation and voice and employability and entrepreneurship.

Yesterday’s consultation drew youth from all over Kingston’s inner-city communities, including Allman Town, Arnett Gardens and Mountain View. By all accounts, the discussion was a success and provided much to be studied in terms of reasons for unemployment and lack of access to opportunities. The youth engaged in a lively discussion and talked about issues such as lack of training and financing for education.

“We are always happy to provide Cuso with voices and opinions from our young people as they try to make inroads in seeking employment,” says YOU’s Deputy Executive Director Cush Lewis.

4 thoughts on “JA youth talk tough employment market

  1. Whenever I hear of the employment issues the young generation faces I become more upset at the Jamaican state and these gray-headed, non-effective politicians that are dinosaur in the systems and refuse to move on. I feel if they do so and stop monopolizing the Gov’t it will create a place for the young and fresh new ideas of the modern day youths to contribute rightfully to their generation. All this non-growth are a direct result of the sort of selfish practices that has being practiced on the island ever since the British Parliament was turned over to the locals decades ago. I am ashamed that one country can sit and watch it’s generation of the future (which is now) goes to waste with perfectly healthy people sitting down being unproductive. My mom always remind me that in Jamaica it’s never what you know but who you know, and at times the complexion of your skin. This mentality will never change unless new and fresh ideologies are inoculated into the Jamaican society and not just merely introduced. The Jamaican government is a disease and the Politicians are infectious virus. Get rid of the virus and the cold will go.

    • Politicians are part of the problem, as is class and the effects of colonialism. It is complex and bringing youth and new ideas into the system would definitely go a ways towards making change. The question is how.

      • You are so right on that one Kate. It will be a huge change to implement. Great point on the effects of colonialism, it has forever left the island in a bad state. Only time and will tell.

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