Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Jamaican farm workers may benefit from Canadian university training

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson greets farm workers at a sending off ceremony earlier this week. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid)

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson greets farm workers at a sending off ceremony earlier this week. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid)

Jamaicans entering the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (SAWP) may benefit from training at the Dalhousie University in Canada in the future.

According to Minister of Labour and Social Security, Shahine Robinson, members of the ministry met with Canadian Minister of Labour Patty Hajdu and representatives of the education institution with an aim of developing a training programme for new workers.

Robinson, speaking at a sending off function at her ministry’s East Street premises, said the possibility of this happening is very strong.

Robinson said, “the objective of the visit was to discuss the strengthening and expansion of the programme for the mutual benefit of both countries and the possibility of developing a training programme for new workers in conjunction with Dalhousie University.

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“I must say that the potential for enhancing the programme is feasible, but we must be able to provide better trained workers and to do so on a constant basis. The discussions are currently underway with the stakeholders, as to how best we can capitalise on the opportunities,” Robinson said, while indicating that, by the end of the year, she will have more details.

Meanwhile, over 300 seasonal farm workers will depart the island for Canada, under SAWP.

The farm workers met at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security office on East Street on Wednesday in preparation for their flights, with the first batch leaving Thursday morning and the second batch on Friday.

Robinson and Permanent Secretary, Colette Roberts Risden, in a short sending off function, implored the farm workers, who have been with the programme for many years, to continue representing the island well, while also telling the first-timers about the legacy that they have to protect.

Robinson said, “For those of you who are making the journey yet another season, I hope that you will continue to perform well so that your employer will see it fit to request your services again and again and again.

“First timers, you have a legacy to carry on. You have to continue to fly the name of the Jamaican worker high, because the Jamaican worker is known to be hardworking, disciplined, dedicated, committed to his tasks and self-motivated.

“These qualities are not lost on Canadian employers and so they continue to participate in the programme, requesting the return of some of the men and women who, over the years they have come to rely on to provide a stable, competent and efficient workforce."

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