Jamaicans must prepare for tech-based jobs, says Future of Work conference

President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards (left) speaks with HFS Research CEO, Phil Fersht, before the Future of Work Conference: Outsourcing 4.0, held in Kingston on October 16, 2019. The conference focused on job opportunities resulting from the 4th industrial revolution.

Jamaicans are being encouraged to prepare to meet the demand for technology-based skills. The recommendation was made at the “Future of Work Conference: Outsourcing 4.0” event hosted by JAMPRO, the Global Services Sector (GSS) Project, the IDB and the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica (BPIAJ) on October 16 2019, in Kingston.

The Future of Work conference aimed to enlighten persons on the future requirements, opportunities and operations of the Global Services Sector, and the job and business opportunities in the evolving outsourcing industry as a result of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The event, which featured speakers like world-renowned analyst Phil Fersht, CEO of HFS Research, Erica Simmons from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Ana Romero from the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency (CINDE), and Yoni Epstein, Founder of itelbpo, looked at key issues arising in the workplace because of the advancement in technology, including “Global Trends & the Future of Work”, “Climbing the value chain in outsourcing to Global Services”, and “Training the Workforce for GSS”.

4th industrial revolution an opportunity for Jamaica

Rather than approaching the development of technology with apprehension, the panellists at the event said Jamaica should look at the opportunities that are available for the island, especially with the implementation of the GSSP that will train Jamaicans to acquire skills to work in Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Information Technology Outsourcing (ITO) & Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) industries.

Keynote speaker Phil Fersht said that as the focus moves from labour to talent, this was an opportunity to position Jamaica as a destination with the capabilities needed to serve these industries and provide value for customers. 

Erica Simmons, Executive Director of the Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing at the CMU, said Jamaicans are positioned for an excellent opportunity. She noted, “We know that the fourth industrial revolution’s hallmark is skills disruption. They've already said 35% of the skills are obsolete, but I think when we look at something like this as a developing country, disruption is a good thing for us. We want to be in the disruption.”

She said,  “The industrial revolution is the largest wealth creation opportunity in the history of our planet; so whenever we hear something like that as a developing nation, we have to listen, we have to pay attention.”

Ms Simmons went on to highlight sectors and industries like biotechnology, automation, robotics, energy and blockchain as some of the sectors Jamaica must look at as opportunities for disruption and economic growth.

President of JAMPRO, Diane Edwards, also said that with the implementation of the GSS project, Jamaicans will now have an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary for the new jobs being created by disruptive industries. Ms Edwards said, “We must look at disruption and technology as a gateway to wealth creation for Jamaicans and the overall economy. The GSSP presents a chance for our talent in Jamaica to elevate their already great skills, so they can be prepared for the transformation taking place across multiple industries.  The critical element in this equation is time, we must act now so we can become competitive in these fields, and create higher-level jobs in outsourcing and other industries.”

Published Date: 
Tuesday, October 22, 2019