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Minister Fazal Karim: Youth unemployment almost 20 per cent
The unemployment rate remains at seven per cent, said Senator Fazal Karim, Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education. He was at the time speaking at the launch of the National Training Agency’s (NTA) labour market report at the NTA’s Chaguanas office on Tuesday.
He said labour market information as it stands leads to glut in the supply of labour in some areas while in others, such as the health sector, there are shortages. He said: “What is missing is the lack of qualitative and quantitative research and labour market information of workforce requirements from employers as well as the slow pace of response by some of T&T’s higher education system and training institutions to meet the demands of the workplace.”
Karim said the report would be focusing on ten key labour sectors in T&T and will provide the national population with information to guide training and career path development. Karim said The Labour Market Report will seek to identify key job opportunities in both the public and private sectors to help the public identify their career potential, including available training opportunities.
Karim said his ministry hopes to spurn a renewed interest in retraining and continuous education. “It is important for you to understand the statistics which will show that unemployment is particularly higher among the young cohorts of the labour force (15-25 years), which is said to be in the region of about 18-20 per cent.”
Karim said unemployment among youths has led to an increase in what he termed “discouraged young graduates” who are not employed and who are not actively looking for work, but want to work. He said: “Essentially, these ‘discouraged graduates’ will constitute a high social cost, rather than being employed, return to study. It also shows that there is the presence of, in some cases, a labour surplus for some sectors.”
Karim said the Labour Market Report will tell institutions and companies how they should respond to market needs and demands. He said: “We are also in a situation where we can experience both ‘shortages’ and ‘surpluses.’ But we are also in the context of a misalignment with graduation and employment, with training opportunities and the creation of employment.”
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