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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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