Professor John Perkins, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the United Kingdom.

Hello everyone. My name is Peter Campbell. I am the director of a small transnational organization which links the Caribbean to Europe. Our goal is to end the underemployment and unemployment of our youth and professional people in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.  To do this we must expand our vision of where our people can take up employment and how they can be of use to our local economies.  I am a champion of us realigning our education and training institutions towards filling official shortage areas of first world industries.  In doing this I take a page out of the book of Professor John Perkins, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in the United Kingdom who is spearheading a drive to get more British young people into Engineering.

Professor Perkins highlighted that it is the job of the community to look at the whole process of educating the youth and inspiring them from an early age to enter a particular profession which is economically viable for them and useful to the nation. I believe that the lessons which he applied to the process of getting British students into Engineering can be applied in Caribbean states to the entire Official UK Shortage List [of occupations.] You the reader might not be familiar with the Official UK Shortage List. It is a list of occupations for which there are not enough people in the UK to fulfil the demand that that job is placing on the UK and European Union labour force. The implication of a job being on the Official UK Shortage List is that it does not have to be advertised to the UK public before it is outsourced to a person outside the EU.

I would like to take this opportunity to declare “open season” on the Official UK Shortage List. Educators, Politicians, Parents and Students should familiarize themselves with the jobs on this list and students should be aspiring towards filling jobs on this list. Caribbean East Atlantic Company Limited will be concentrating on the fields of Engineering, Teaching (Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics), Nursing and Social Work as the areas we will be striving to get Jamaicans and Caribbean Nationals into over the course of the next ten months.

I believe that like Professor Perkins we as a group of nations should not only be finding jobs for the labour that we have now, but we should also be realigning our institutions towards providing future workers for areas for which there is an actual demand. This might mean giving motivational talks at high schools to students who have not yet made the choice of what subjects they want to do at CXC level and raising career awareness of prospects outside of the borders of our countries. It might also mean financially incentivising students getting into particular areas. It could also mean promoting those who already work in the field to a higher paid job in the UK so that youths may take their place in the local economy.

How does this benefit the Caribbean?

Some people may consider what I am doing an acceleration of brain drain in the Caribbean. This is not the case.  There are other projects under consideration by Caribbean East Atlantic Company Limited which include a pension fund which would be offered to every working Caribbean National in the United Kingdom and which would invest 5% of their yearly salary into growth areas of Jamaican and Caribbean industry. This would be in addition to charitable giving to causes and family members which would go a long way towards helping the economic position of the Caribbean in the next twenty years. In the next twenty years some of these workers will be returning to the Caribbean to retire or to offer their services to local industry; bringing with them new skills, new cultural experiences and their amassed wealth to the Caribbean. I consider the immigration process a cycle which will benefit the Caribbean in the long term.

Professor Perkins had the farsightedness to look towards 2050. He said that winning the global race meant taking actions which may not pay off immediately but would have significant returns in the long term. We should adopt his twenty-two point plan for ourselves. Together as a partnership between the public and private sector we must work to reach long term goals. The Caribbean East Atlantic Company Limited exists to promote Caribbean and Commonwealth citizens to those places where prosperity is plenty and to funnel back the benefits of their advancement to their home countries. We encourage the governments of the Caribbean to work with us in our drive to rebuild the world.

My name is Peter Campbell, reporting on the insights gained from a first world state.

Further reading 

Professor John Perkins’ Review of Engineering Skills