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‘We need more jobs for our young people’

NEW CHALLENGE: Lisa Hanna speaks with students at Kingston college (PIC CREDIT: Ricardo Makyn)

JAMAICA’S YOUTH and Culture Minister has said she wants to see more job opportunities develop in the fields of sports, media, arts and culture for the country’s youth.

Lisa Hanna, who met with students at Kingston College yesterday, listened as they expressed their concerns about employment and other issues affecting them.

The minister noted that it was the second time she was engaging students in such a manner and that she would be conducting weekly meetings with students at high schools across the island.

During her discussion with the students, Hanna said young people had a major role to play in taking the country forward as 55 per cent of the island's population was under the age of 24.

She revealed that 70 per cent were unskilled and, even though 80 per cent graduated from high school, half of them did not pass a single subject.

The minister also noted that the top 10 most demanded jobs today did not exist four years ago, which poses a problem as students are being trained for jobs that will not exist by the time they graduate.

"We need to provide more industries in tourism and sporting development to give them that competitive edge on the world stage," Hanna said.

"Sound, lighting and photography need to move from a hobby to making money as a number of (young people) want to leave Jamaica because they feel there is a lack of opportunities in those fields. There is only one track for them and I see they are interested in training and receiving job opportunities pertaining to culture," Hanna said. "We need to make the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission more than a festival and have at least one performing arts high school in the island."

The minister said that what was clear was that the plans the new Government has to strengthen culture within its system have to be fast-tracked.

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