The Ministry of Youth and Culture is taking steps to identify additional sustainable job opportunities within Jamaica’s creative industry, particularly in Reggae music, for young people.
This is one of the key areas of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the Ministry is currently negotiating with the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), and which Portfolio Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, says is expected to be concluded and signed soon.
The Ministry’s focus on generating job opportunities through Reggae music, comes against the background of what Ms. Hanna says are international studies pointing to the need for the generation of an additional 500 million jobs globally by 2030, “to satisfy the number of young people who will be coming into the workforce.”
Speaking at Tuesday’s (January 28) launch of Reggae Month 2014, at the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre, Hope Road, St. Andrew, Ms. Hanna said the studies show that each year, 121 million persons globally who advance to age 16 enter the workforce in search of employment.
She also pointed out that currently, close to 12.6 per cent of young people globally, totalling 80 million, are unemployed, and that music and the creative industries are areas that can be looked at to provide jobs for Jamaica’s young people.
Meanwhile, Ms. Hanna said the MoU also aims to facilitate heightened awareness, knowledge, and understanding among Jamaica’s youth of Reggae music’s importance.
“We believe that our young people need to understand our music and our history, so we are partnering with JaRIA to have the Reggae open air universities, the symposia, and the trade fair,” the Minister explained.
Ms. Hanna informed that the MoU will also enable JaRIA to use the Ministry’s facilities, such as the Louise Bennett Garden Theatre, for its activities.
This year’s fifth staging of Reggae Month (February), organized by JaRIA, is being held under the theme: ‘The Journey Continues…’
Commemoration of the month coincides with the anniversary of the births of two of Reggae music’s most established and recognized exponents – Dennis Brown on February 1, and Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley, on February 6.
Reggae Month kicks off on Sunday, February 2, with an Ecumenical Service at the University of the West Indies Chapel, Mona, St. Andrew. This will be followed by a slate of events.
These include the 13th annual five-day Trench Town Community Festival, from February 5 to 9; a trade fair; concerts and live events; and symposia.