Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, has called for construction developers to assist and encourage uncertified workers in their employment to get accredited.
The minister made the call during a Jamaica Developers Association (JDA) real estate development webinar recently amid concern that construction growth is partly being stymied by people operating in the sector without the requisite certification and skills.
Minister Chuck, who also called for the development of minimum standards for developers, said as a rule, developers should make the effort to have their workmen trained and certified, especially as they represent a vital part of their operations.
“We can do more for the people who help us to make our ventures succeed and realise enormous profits,” he said while questioning whether developers in fact check to determine if workmen on their sites are trained and certified.
“Would it not be useful to assist these workmen to get certified from the HEART NSTA Trust?” he asked, presumably in light of the government’s recent waiver of tuition and administrative fees for certification up to level four at the HEART-NSTA Trust. The waiver became effective April 1 to facilitate access to vocational training for all Jamaicans despite their economic circumstances. While making the announcement in March, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the decision was in keeping with the government’s mandate to increase the provision of trained labour.
Minister Chuck noted that today, certification is important for all categories of employees, and added that with a fully trained workforce, developers should expect that projects will be properly and professionally completed. Education research suggests that training ensures workers abide by standardised processes and will allow them to be equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to be more efficient and effective in their tasks.
The minister noted that certification will also provide more opportunities for site workers.
“So many masons, carpenters, plumbers, tilers, painters, etc. move from site to site and even remain with the same contractor and have no certification,” he reasoned.
“I do not deny that workmen are contractors in their own rights and responsible for their personal wellbeing, but still is it possible for additional training and information to be provided to help them to develop into true professionals and good citizens, caring for their families,” he added.
Also addressing the webinar, Carlton Earl Samuels, chief development financing officer at the JN Group, who was also a panellist during the discussion, said his organisation would continue to assist developers with structuring their projects and even monitoring them from start to finish to ensure that they are efficiently executed.
He called for developers to take advantage of JN Bank’s Developer’s Programme to market their housing projects to JN’s vast membership base in Jamaica and the diaspora.
“JN is happy to work with the developers to ensure that we have a successful housing development sector,’ said Mr Samuels.
The JDA webinar, held in June, was the sixth in the series and was held under the theme, “Navigating Minefields in Development”.
The JDA is an umbrella organisation representing the developers of housing and commercial solutions, allied businesses and groups. It currently has 34 members, including associate members comprising commercial banks, legal firms, building societies, suppliers of building materials and major mortgage providers.