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Employment Services launches job registration drive campaign, 18 events across TCI

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Tuesday June 26, 2018 – Eighteen Summer Registration Drives will be staged throughout the Turks and Caicos in an effort to capture a truer understanding of who is either unemployed or underemployed according to the Employment Services Department and Minister responsible for Employment.

The team, led by Deputy Premier, Sean Astwood today announced that efforts began in Grand Turk at Three Degrees since 9 a.m. and will continue until the end of August 2018.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Border Control and Employment, Hon Sean Astwood at the press conference held this morning said the Summer Registration Drive is not about people being employed for the Summer, but rather a campaign promise and commitment to seek out individuals who are not working or are looking to have better, more stable jobs.  The Deputy Premier said the launch during Summertime is aimed at getting high school and returning university graduates into their system.

“So it is permanent employment that we are seeking for you and we are trying to get as many persons in the country as possible who are interested in finding jobs, who is actively seeking a job that we have that information that can allow us to make that connection with potential employers who are looking for persons.  It allows companies to get the necessary workforce that they need.”

There are currently 105 people on the unemployment register of the Turks and Caicos, of which 25% are individuals who work from time to time, according to Labour Commissioner, Edwin Taylor.  

“The real, genuine unemployment number is consistently appearing to us, over these last few months as we dig deep into the numbers, to be really a lot lower than what has always been floated.”

While an accurate unemployment rate for the Turks and Caicos continues to be elusive, Mr. Taylor explained that the Summer Registration Drive will assist in getting the statistics right.

“Part of our efforts this year in doing the registration drive is to come up with an accurate figure. We have seen the statistics come out from the National Skills Audit but it encompassed people who were not legal in the country…”  Mr. Taylor added, “It’s our estimation that we are somewhere around below three per cent, even below two per cent (unemployment rate) because if we look at our current registration we are under 120 (people), so if you have 105 persons unemployed based on our statistics, that is a very low figure… that would rate far below anywhere in the world what we have here in the Turks and Caicos; but it just to justify those numbers to make sure they are an accurate number and so this will give us the opportunity to ensure that happens.”

Acting Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Alpheus Smith said the overarching goal is to get every Turks and Caicos Islander employed; and shared that often the problem lies with islanders who shy away from competing for jobs and often do not show up for interviews arranged for them by Employment Services.

“When we set up the interviews, we would like to encourage them to show up to the interviews.  History shows that if ten persons were listed for an interview, sometimes only three show up.  Then the same persons who didn’t show up for the interview they two weeks later show up at our office, still looking for a job.  These are some of the challenges we are faced with…”

By Thursday, the Employment Services Department team will move into South Caicos for the Drive there set for the District Commissioner’s Office, beginning at 9 a.m.

The Summer Registration Drive is also in anticipation of the job boom expected for the island of Providenciales in particular; the Minister said the count on how many jobs are coming is a work in progress.

“Actually we are compiling that information because we have requested from the different Developers who are well into the process of their development –  that is they have already gotten Development Agreements and already broken ground –  to get for us their business staffing plan that will allow us to know exactly the number.  Now, we have already gotten some of that information but we are compiling it and soon we will get that information out the public.”

There are a few more initiatives being devised and prepared to be tabled in Cabinet from the Employment Services Department, which will include two Public Private Partnership agreements involving the Young Corporate Alliance and the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association.

The Ministry of Education was also named as a partner in developing a new policy to ensure Turks and Caicos Islands graduates are ideally absorbed into the job market.

The Summer Registration Drive press conference was held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales.


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