TCI News

TCI swamped by unskilled labour force, Natl Skills Audit suggests islanders should have more babies

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, Thursday April 26, 2018 – The Turks and Caicos has a problem in its skills offering to the job market; there are not enough university graduates and far too many unskilled labourers comprising the workforce, revealed the recently published National Skill Audit.

“At present there is an over-supply of labour among persons with primary and secondary education, while there is a huge demand for workers with vocational education and university education, respectively.”  

The audit, completed since May 2017, was performed by Dunn Pierre Barnett & Associates Ltd and was commissioned under the Rufus Ewing Administration.  The information is striking and in over 320 pages and eight chapters, the data generated after a one year review exposes what skills are available in the Turks and Caicos and the effect of the migrant workforce in the country, among other things.

In the report, made public on the government website since February, evidence is presented to confirm what many people already know; that the Turks and Caicos has far more people available for work in the unskilled category of labour than there are trained professionals for skilled category.  Thanks to the audit, it is now more clear how severely under supplied the skilled workforce really is.

The Skills Mismatch, as the report headlines the section, is very telling; demonstrating in the illustrative table that the TCI has 100 per cent more primary school educated workers than it needs; that the TCI has 22 per cent more high school educated workers than it needs but that there is a dramatic shortage when it comes to those with high school and vocational training, only 15 per cent of the demand is filled, which creates a gap of 85 per cent.  

Additionally, the report exposes that university degree holders are also sorely lacking.  Around 30 percent is what the country has in the way of professionals to take on the jobs available to individuals with college degrees, leaving a 70 per cent hole in the human capacity in this category of worker in the Turks and Caicos.

The report also cites that despite the strong opinions which are often expressed in opposition to such a huge expatriate labour force, the Turks and Caicos Islands has a 200 year old history of needing the migrant worker, desperately.

“At present, the local TCI worker population cannot effectively respond to the rapidly growing demand for skilled workers.  Thus, corporations have to rely on foreign workers for the next five to seven years or until he government and the people set effective to ensure and enforce locals’ participation in the labour market.”

The report makes suggestions and urges policy change in consultation with the population.  Among its practical ideas, that Turks and Caicos Islanders should have more babies.  

“At present, the fertility rate of the Turks and Caicos (1.70) is one of the lowest in the Anglo-Caribbean and third lowest in the wider Caribbean…The onus will be on the citizens to make a conscious effort to increase their current fertility rate to meet and maintain the needs of the country.”

PHOTO CAPTION:  2018 NEW YEAR BABY. Parents Nanoune Celestine and James Arthur with Baby Bradley Arthur.

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