By Orville Williams
Though the shift to a more digital working world has long been mooted for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the changes could be coming sooner than one would expect. This, according to Director-General of the OECS, Dr Didacus Jules.
Speaking to Observer recently, Dr Jules explained that the shift is indeed imminent and will provide adequate jobs – using the example of a pilot programme for youth that will soon be launched across the sub-region.
“Yes [the shift will be coming and there will be many jobs available] and not within two-to-five years, we’re talking – in the OECS – within six months.
“Actually, in the next couple months, I’m going to be launching a 5,000 jobs initiative at the OECS level and this is going to be primarily starting as a pilot with at-risk youth.
“[It will be] supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), because we have the Juvenile Justice Reform Project and USAID has agreed to finance [this] for a number of young people who are now in so-called juvenile centers, to be trained for work in what we call the Gig economy,” Dr Jules explained.
He also expressed optimism that the youth will be exposed to creative jobs that allow them to take part in the new digital market, from right here within in the sub-region.
“So, the good thing about that digital transformation is that we’re not preparing people to go abroad for jobs, we’re preparing people to be digital nomads – you stay right where you are in Antigua and Barbuda, in Grenada or in St Lucia [for example] and you are able to develop the skills required for you to be able to now move into the Gig economy.
“That starts with some basic skills; if you have a very good voice, you could be doing voicing of ads and so on, for example, so they send you the text, you voice it [and] you get paid for that. On platforms like Fiverr there are 20, 30 different jobs that you can do in that digital space, so this is immediate transition,” Dr Jules added.