14 January 2004

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Toon this week: Retrain to avoid the redundancy whiplash

Jobs and more jobs please

The sudden but not unexpected news is that a textile factory has rid itself of 240 posts. This is not good news at all and one would hope that there are no further redundancies in the pipeline. More so when European accession is just round the corner.
The issue of job creation is a question that should be at the very top of the cabinet’s priority list.
It should be so, but is it?
In the late eighties and nineties jobs were created after the end of a political climate that did little to encourage investment and entrepreneurial spirit. It slowed down later.
There have not been many politicians who have captained job creation. But there are some and they stand out like a sore thumb.
The Nationalist government has allowed for liberalisation, trade growth and a diversification in the service industry.
But the government has been slow in getting to grips with re-training people in the old-world industry. Nevertheless, the data on gainfully employed is still healthy despite the tremors of the last days.
From a cursory look at the present list of politicians one can easily deduce who are the capable individuals with the ability to recreate and come up with new opportunities.
The employment drive in this country needs dynamic politicians who can instil some challenging ideas into the system.
This does not come easy.
It can only come with focus, determination and a good understanding of the financial and economic market in Malta and beyond.
There is also a need to look beyond the old-world economy, the one that traditionally enlisted the services of untrained youngsters with little or no education.
This too must change, and it is changing.
Inroads in software development and, more so, in financial services have contributed in the creation of new jobs.
In the tourism sector there has been little or no innovation. It is about time we start looking at attracting new niche markets in the tourist market. But we also need positive decisions fast.
The problem, more often than not, lies in the decision making process. For example, would a golf course multiply our chances of attracting more quality tourists?
If we are sure of this, then lets us decide and go for it.
In the field of leisure activities we would well to look at new leisure sports which can attract new investments.
The need to attract international agencies or, better still, international focal points to Malta will bring about a multiplier effect.
In the field of education, perhaps we should look at creating new educational services that will encourage foreigner to take a longer break in Malta - not only in learning the English language but perhaps in catering and hotels.
The ideas and examples are endless.
It is time for the men and women with vision to lead this country away from the bland and unexciting moments we are presently living.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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