As part and parcel of doing so, the Global Shapers Kingston Hub hosted its inaugural Symposium at the Undercroft of the University of the West Indies Mona Campus on Thursday, March 3.
The symposium, held to discuss ‘People: Jamaica’s Main Export?’ drew an enthusiastic audience out to hear the presentations of the four main speakers — Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica; Joel Ellis, CEO/Owner at RAVE Entertainment Productions; Javette Nixon, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Seaforth Holdings Limited; and Nicole McLaren-Campbell, founder of AIM Educational Services.
The evening began with a pre-recorded video responding to the question “Do you plan to live and work in Jamaica after you graduate or do you plan to live and work abroad?”
Many of the panelists believed that Jamaica needed to confront the pros and cons of migration.
“This is a very important conversation that we are having today; one that is central to the development of Jamaica and to the infusion of hope in the lives of students and young people,” said McLaren-Campbell.
“We don’t want to restrict people from following their passions and pursuing what they think is best for them. A few students said what they studied is not a developed industry in Jamaica, so they would like to go overseas. At the same time, there are people overseas that want to come back; we need to find ways to facilitate them,” she suggested. “The language of possibility is important to hear; we need to focus on the opportunities rather than problems.”
And for Nixon, Seaforth Holdings CEO, migration does offer possibilities for many underskilled Jamaicans.
“Migration, in the Jamaican context, is a good thing,” Nixon posited. “We are earning $2.23 billion in remittances every year; plus, 80 per cent the people who are migrating have no occupation or skill listed. Jamaica does not have the absorptive capacity, so migration will give jobs to people who could not find employment here.”
The symposium also addressed the potential to meet the Vision 2030 strategic goals — to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
These ideas were advanced by PIOJ Director General Dr. Wayne Henry, and videographer Joel Ellis.
Dr Henry detailed the policies the government has been advancing to create opportunities in underserved industries.
Ellis was adamant throughout his presentations that the creative arts will always have tremendous earning power in Jamaica.
“A lot of students are still looking to the traditional workforce; we need to think outside the box,” Ellis posited. “We have to be creative and innovative to show the youth that they can stay and thrive in Jamaica.”
The symposium was sponsored by PANJAM Investment Limited, UWI LEADS, Point Digital Global Marketing, and Jamaica Youth Ambassadors Programme.
About Global ShapersThe Global Shapers Community is an initiative of the World Economic Forum, which operates as a not-for-profit foundation, headquartered in Switzerland, that is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum brings together leaders from around the world, from different backgrounds and industries.