Jamaica facing an acute Shortage of Qualified Technicians and Engineers for upcoming Projects

Even as Engineers get top dollar in the US of A and is thus the recommended Career path for Jamaicans studying abroad as I’d pointed out in Engineering Degrees are among the Top Earning Degrees in the USA for Jamaican College Students, Jamaica is facing an acute shortage of Qualified Engineers.

“Almost in every study that we do, and preliminary results in a survey that we are doing now, we find that Engineering is an area of great concern and great demand for employers”

Director of Economic and Social research, Ministry of Labour and Social Security Shaine Palmer, speaking at yesterday’s Kiwanis Club of Kingston weekly luncheon on Tuesday March 11th 2013

Speaking at the Kiwanis Club of Kingston weekly luncheon held on Tuesday March 11th 2013 Director of Economic and Social Research, Ministry of Labour and Social Security Shaine Palmer made reference the Labour Market Study 2012: A Guide to Employment Opportunities in Jamaica, which indicated the need for Qualified Engineers and Trained Technicians as Professionals needed to execute certain projects in Jamaica, such as the upcoming LNG Plant, whose contract has been awarded to EWI (Energy world International).


His sentiments echoed those of Executive Chairman of Corrpak Jamaica Limited, Howard Mitchell, who in a presentation to the Internal and External Affairs Committee of Parliament 2013 had predicted dire consequences if the GOJ (Government of Jamaica) did not address the imbalance relating to the qualification of High School leavers of sound Mind and Body being ready to be Trained and Apprenticed as Engineers.

Specifically, the areas that are short of trained Engineers are as follow:

  • Civil

  • Structural

  • Electrical

  • Power

  • Mechanical

  • Telecommunication

  • Instrumentation and Measurement

In my opinion, there is also a pressing need too for Technicians and Engineers in newly emerging Fields:

  • Alternative Energy

  • Biomedical

  • Networking and Computing

  • Refrigeration

  • Animation

This as adequate Training and Apprenticeship of Engineers is needed to staff these fields e.g.  manufacture of Electronics on a level close to impoverished Haiti, who with the help of  Haiti’s Surtab SA and Handxom SA are making 7” Tablets or even animation, which is an emerging Engineering Field as pointed out in KingstOOn Animation Festival and GG’s “I Believe in Jamaica” Animation Training – Genesis of Animation Outsourcing.

Even more interesting is the fact that the Labour Market Study 2012: A Guide to Employment Opportunities in Jamaica pointed out that Technicians and Engineers were needed not only with Professional Certification, but also foreign language skills in French, Spanish and Portuguese, languages needed to attain work in other markets such as Latin American and the Caribbean.

This would help to reduce the need to have expatriate Trainers flown into the island who are bi-lingual and speak English as well as their Native tongue. Fluency in another language helps in the easy transfer of knowledge among Engineers and Technicians who already speak the Common language of Mathematics.

Renaissance of Engineering in Jamaica – More Scholarships and Bursaries for Engineering

Jamaica needs to divert more financial resources to train Engineers and Technicians, as Technicians function as Assistants in the field to Engineers who design Systems and Processes. This is much in the same way that Nurses assist Doctors in the diagnosis of Patient illness in hospitals and Paralegals assist Lawyers in preparing Cases for Court.

It can’t be the case in Jamaica that everyone wants to become a Doctor or a Lawyer, purely because of the prestige and easy money associated with these Professional fields even as a demand clearly exists for Engineers. Engineers are clearly needed to execute coming projects related to the Logistics Hub on Goat Islands, which may or may not have end up having a Coal Power Plant and well as the LNG Plant, which is now being split into two LNG plants  one in Bull Bay St. Thomas and one in Bogue, St. James, based on reports coming from The Gleaner.

Interestingly too, Doctors and Lawyers are Professional Groups that provide Services. Every High School leaver is using Government Resources to become Doctors and Lawyers when there’s a shortage of Professionals available to afford using their services in the first place. With fewer Professionals to provide services to, there is a need to raise the Professional Standards of other Guilds such as those Professionals in Accounting, Marketing and Teaching to create a viable workforce that will need to services of Lawyers and Doctors.

Thus building the Engineering Field via showing High School Leavers that Engineering fields such as Animation as explained in KingstOOn Animation Festival and GG’s “I Believe in Jamaica” Animation Training – Genesis of Animation Outsourcing is just as a lucrative Career Path in Jamaica are just as financially rewarding as becoming a Doctor or a Lawyer and not just only in the United States of America is it a good Profession to start.

It just needs support from the GOJ, particularly the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and the ministry of Education working in tandem to make High School leavers make the choice to pursue Engineering.

Shoring up our skill pool of Engineers and Technicians will make Jamaica attractive to FDI (Foreign Direct Investors) looking to set up without the added cost of having to find multi-lingual Trainers to Train Jamaicans Technicians and Engineers, as they would already be here in abundance.

Here’s the link:

Labour Market Study 2012: A Guide to Employment Opportunities in Jamaica

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.