More investment in skills training will pay off in the form of jobs for residents, the IMF suggests
SAINT JOHN’S, ANTIGUA — The pathway for more people to get jobs in Antigua is through more opportunities for skills training and tertiary education, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In a 2024 report, the organization noted and commended increased efforts of the Antiguan government to invest in skills training.
However, it also encouraged stakeholders to take it a step further if employment prospects are to improve for Antiguans in the labour market.
“The recent investment in vocational training and local university is expected to enhance the quality of, and access to, tertiary education programs,” the IMF said.
“The quality of vocational training should be further improved with an eye to increase the number of graduates finding jobs.”
At the same time, programmes that already exist to help residents access upskilling and job-training opportunities should be strengthened, the IMF suggested.
In particular, the IMF named the government’s New Work Experience Programme and job placement efforts by the One Stop Employment Centre (OSEC) at the Department of Labour.
“The New Work Experience Programme, which provides on-the-job training, could be made more effective by routinely evaluating outcomes and ensuring participants’ successful exit from the program,” the IMF said.
“The One Stop Employment Centre should enhance its capabilities to match employers with employees.”
Strengthening jobs in Antigua
Aside from these areas, the IMF also made several recommendations on how jobs in Antigua could be strengthened further.
Its report came just ahead of the World Bank predicting GDP growth will increase slightly over the next year, inching from 2.3 percent in 2024 to 2.5 percent in 2025.
IMF directors “recognized the ongoing initiatives to boost growth and build resilience” in Antigua during a recent consultation.
“They recommended continuing efforts to boost tourism, including by increasing flight connectivity,” the IMF reported.
“While welcoming the investments in education and training, directors encouraged further steps to strengthen active labour market policies and expand opportunities for vocational training.”
At the same time, the IMF also encouraged more development in Antigua’s green economy, particularly where renewable energy is concerned.
While IMF directors “noted the challenges associated with the transition to renewable energy”, they nonetheless “welcomed efforts to increase donor support for climate change-related projects.”