Good News from Jamaica?

A recent article from the The Jamaica Gleaner has sparked new hope for the fashion industry. After a noticeable downturn in the garment manufacturing industry due to lack of interest and the limited access to jobs, opportunities in this sector are seeing an upwards trend.

Having close to 100 young people enrolled at the HEART Trust’s Garmex Academy  to pursue studies in garment construction has given Denworth Finnikin, National Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) director at the Ministry of Education, some hope that there will be a massive resurgence in the apparel industry.

“The truth of the matter is that the psyche of our people and culture, somewhat, is a part of the downturn we saw some years ago. We weren’t taught to be entrepreneurs and so persons in fashion weren’t being employed on a large scale. What is emerging now, is a number of small entrepreneurs creating a niche and in creating that niche, it now requires persons to do the work,” he told The Gleaner in an interview. 

He further stated, “The Ministry of Education has seen the need though to develop, technical and vocational education and training. As such, with a new revised curriculum, which will be rolled out in September 2017, we will see a wide range of skill or exposure to it. What we are trying to do is to stimulate interest from a younger age that more persons would want to go in these areas because the fact is, these are the technical areas that are going to make persons gain employment,” Finnikin told The Gleaner.

While we are strong supporters of employment opportunities, we are worried that the goal of increasing such opportunities will eclipse the efforts of creating better, safer work environments for employees in this field. The Rana Plaza collapse was a devastating tragedy, and we need to ensure that it does not happen again. Once was already too many.

So, we want to know your opinion! Do you think enough attention is being paid to the conditions of work, or is most of the focus on simply creating opportunities?

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