Jamaican workforce urged to upskill for new automation jobs

Global organizations predict automation will disrupt jobs; Jamaica’s youth urged to train to adapt

KINGSTON, JAMAICA — With advancements in technology and automation predicted to make almost 100 million jobs around the world obsolete in the near future, a Jamaican politician is urging Jamaicans to start adapting their skillsets now if they are to be qualified for the jobs of tomorrow.

jobs in Jamaica

Nixon says the jobs of tomorrow are skills-based. (Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels)

Senator Dr. Dana Morris Dixon, the minister in the Office of the Prime Minister who is responsible for Skills and Digital Transformation, made the comments at the opening ceremony of the WorldSkills Autonomous Mobile Robotics Invitational Training Camp.

While her speech at the time was directed mostly toward the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jamaicans attending the camp, her comments may nonetheless serve as a clarion call for all working Jamaicans to “consider the new job opportunities that come with increased automation.”

Dixon spoke of a new plant opening in the future that plans to use robotics, noting that this technology will likely be used by many companies operating not just in Jamaica but around the world in the future.

“I’ve met with other manufacturing companies and they, too, plan to use more technology and robotics in manufacturing plants,” she said.

“What this means is that we are seeing a shift in our manufacturing sector in Jamaica, and we need to have the workforce in tandem with that… The jobs of the future are skill-based.”

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    Automation to create new jobs in Jamaica

    During her address, Dixon referred to data from the World Economic Forum (WEF) that suggests automation can potentially “displace 85 million jobs” by 2025.

    jobs in Jamaica

    AI advancements are expected to eliminate but also create jobs. (Photo by August de Richelieu on Pexels)

    That figure was published in the WEF’s Future of Jobs 2020 report.

    More recently, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva just last week projected that as much as 60% of jobs could be lost or otherwise impacted by artificial intelligence (AI).

    While she predicted that “emerging markets and developing economies face fewer immediate disruptions from AI,” she added “many of these countries don’t have the infrastructure or skilled workforces to harness the benefits of AI, raising the risk that over time the technology could worsen inequality among nations.”

    The WEF’s Future of Jobs 2020 report also noted the “robot revolution” could potentially create 97 million new jobs, but that “communities most at risk from disruption will need support from businesses and governments.”

    However, HEART/NSTA Trust Managing Director Dr. Taneisha Ingleton emphasized her organization’s commitment to ensuring Jamaica’s labour force will not be left behind.

    She said: “The HEART/NSTA Trust stands firmly on the edge of tomorrow, preparing Jamaicans for the jobs of the future — jobs that have not been invented yet.”

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