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Demand for highly skilled labour outweighs supply

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Construction, hospitality, tourism, and marine sectors drive economic growth
  • Shortage of highly skilled labour results in importation of skilled workers
  • Skilled employees can be assessed on the job and become certified through NTA’s Assessment of Higher Learning

Grenada’s construction, hospitality and tourism, and marine sectors continue to drive economic growth as stated earlier this year by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). However, the National Training Agency (NTA) has observed that although these sectors continue to generate employment, there is a shortage of highly skilled labour in Grenada, resulting in the importation of skilled workers to fill those jobs.

This lack of available skilled labour in those specific areas is a concern, although it has been observed that more people are seeking higher levels of CVQ certification, levels 3 and 4, but are more centred around the business sector and away from the sectors where the skilled labour resource is scarce.

“There is always a shortage of skilled labour in construction, the automotive services and so on even the marine sector so those are areas where we need higher-level skills or we just need people trained and certified. We do also need higher levels of skills because, like the hospitality industry and construction, we have to do a lot of importation of labour to meet the specific high skill jobs that are required at a managerial and supervisory level and in some cases, Grenadians are unable to fill those positions,” said NTA Marketing and Communications Officer, Kay Julien-Gutu.

Although there have been significant increases in the number of people seeking higher levels of qualification in areas such as Human Resource Management, Accounting, and Administrative Assistance, just to name a few, there is a need for more people to either become certified or receive higher levels of Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) certification in some of the sectors like Construction, Tourism and Marine Industry which is showing strong economic performance.

Julien-Gutu encourages employers to have their employees certified in higher levels of certification related to their profession. “There are some people who have already acquired skills on the job, but are just not certified, so we need them to come forward and be certified because it will make them more marketable and they will be able to have opportunities to earn a higher income.”

The NTA has a programme called Assessment of Higher Learning, where employees who are already skilled can be assessed on the job and become certified. “They can be assessed on their job, but if people do not have the training and they would like to have the training at higher levels, that too can be accommodated. We can also arrange along with partnering with employers to do training on the job so people can be trained while they are working,” she said.

Other technical areas within the automotive and yachting industry are also areas that are experiencing a shortage of skilled labour. However, more Grenadians are seeking higher levels of certification in areas such as Human Resource Management, Accounting, Administrative assistance, Geriatric Care, and Massage Therapy.

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Caribbean & World

Early closure of ministry on 19 November – NOW Grenada

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The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information will be closed from 1 pm on Tuesday, 19 November 2019, to facilitate a general staff meeting on that date.

This ministry apologises for any inconvenience caused, as a result of the early closure.

Ministry of Education

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NHI is a transformational initiative for healthcare system – NOW Grenada

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by Linda Straker

  • Universal healthcare provides healthcare and financial protection to all residents 
  • Focus of 2-day conference will be to listen to community, public education, and information sharing
  • Government has entered into a 9-month contract with JIPA as of 29 October

Dr Kester Nedd, CEO of the Miami-based JIPA (Joint Independent Provider Association) Network, has described his contract with government to engage in broad-based consultations with all the relevant stakeholders to implement a national health insurance system, as a transformational initiative as Grenada embarks on providing universal health for citizens.

“Today we are beginning the steps of universal health coverage for all,” Nedd told participants attending a 2-day conference where the vision of the JIPA Network is being presented to stakeholders.

While JIPA is formally introducing its brand and ideas to the Grenadian community, the focus of the event at the Radisson Convention Centre will be to listen to the community, public education, and information sharing. “Change can only be successful when we listen to others,” he told participants from the medical fraternity, Trades Union Council, private sector, insurance industry, political organisations, civil society organisations, churches, and government officials.

JIPA Vision

Explaining that National Health Insurance is not a band-aid to fixing the current challenges, Nedd said that the initiative is part of a wide concept that will eventually result in the transformation of Grenada’s healthcare system.

“Most important, there is a need for political will. We need that kind of support as part of the governance structure,” he said while pointing out that political will is significant to achieve universal healthcare.

Universal health coverage (UHC) is a healthcare system that provides healthcare and financial protection to all residents. Grenada is committed to achieving UHC, which means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.

Dr Francis Martin, Senior Medical Officer with responsibility for primary healthcare said that UHC cannot be achieved if there is no reform. “If healthcare remains the same, government will have to make some hard changes and reallocate funds,” he told participants while presenting on the current state of healthcare in the country.

Coss section of participants at JIPA conference

Besides local experts, the event also features international speakers who are sharing lessons learned from the NHI Bahamas, BVI and Turks and Caicos.

Government has entered into a 9-month contract with JIPA valued between US$800,000 and US$1.5 million to complete the process for implementation of the National Health Insurance programme.

The contract came into effect as of 29 October 2019, and builds on the work already started by the University of the West Indies and other stakeholders.

Grenada received US$653,916 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish the secretariat of the NHI and to undertake initial preparatory work. The decision of government to introduce a National Health Insurance plan is in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

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Police investigate death at Duquesne – NOW Grenada

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Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 34-year-old that occurred on Thursday, 14 November 2019 sometime after 7 pm at Duquesne, St Mark.

Marvin Francis of Duquesne was pronounced dead at the scene following an altercation in which he received several chop wounds to the body.

An autopsy is pending to determine the actual cause of death.

One man is currently in custody assisting police with the investigations.

Office of Commissioner of Police

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