Job fair at Nipa opens tomorrow at 10am – Ricardo Perez: “This event will show real unemployment data”POSTED: 10/23/15 1:45 PM
St. Maarten – The job fair the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association hosts at the National Institute of Professional advancement (Nipa) in Cay Hill tomorrow in partnership with the labor department’s Start Here Campaign will be the true measure of unemployment on the island, says Ricardo Perez, manager of the Oyster Bay Beach Resort and Executive Board Director of the SHTA.
“The private sector cannot find people, let alone qualified ones,” Perez says in his office at the Oyster Bay Beach Resort. “The statistics of the government are unreliable. The last known figure, from 2014, shows that unemployment is 9.2 percent. Politicians are complaining that people are unable to find jobs. This does not make sense.”
The job fair, that will open tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. at Nipa, will bring clarity, Perez says. “This event will show the real unemployment data for the island. If you don’t show up there as a job seeker, it means that you are not looking for work.”
Perez notes that the labor department currently has collected information from 300 job seekers in its Start Here Campaign. “We will match that information with what the private sector is looking for. And I am not just talking about the hospitality industry. This job fair covers employment across the board.”
“We will create a database with information of all the people who show up tomorrow and then match them with the information from the labor department and that of the participating businesses. Afterwards we will present a recap and show how many people showed up, what the demographics are, and so on.”
Initiatives from the government so far have not been very helpful. Perez refers to the recruitment drive in the Netherlands at FRED (Flinx Recruitment Expo Dutch Caribbean) that was held in May in Rotterdam. “Cornelius de Weever was going to bring back students from that event to the island. Where are they? It never happened,” Perez says, adding that participating in such a recruitment drive for the private sector in St. Maarten is “unrealistic.”
“You have to fly there, you have to get a hotel, you have to eat there and you have to send an employee there. It is going to cost you at least $5,000. And for what?”
Tomorrow’s job fair will be more productive and cost-effective for the private sector. “The SHTA wants to go towards zero unemployment for St. Maarten,” Perez says. “At the fair we want to make sure people are ready for success, so we will help them how to prepare for an interview, how to dress, how to write a good resume.”
Perez has a message for job-hunters and for employers alike: “If you don’t show up tomorrow, you are not really looking for a job. And for employers, if you don’t show up, you have to stop bitching about not being able to find people. We give you a venue at a nominal price: $100 for SHTA-members and $200 for non-members. What will come out of this are the real unemployment numbers. There is a major need for qualified people.”
The participating companies at the job fair are a cross section of the economy: Windward Roads, Divi Resorts, FKG Yacht Rigging and Marine Fabricating, CC1 St. Maarten, Port of St. Maarten, The Mailbox, Sonesta Hotels, Divico, Aquamania, Oyster Bay Beach Resort, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Prime Distributors, Simpson Bay Resort & Marina, Holland House Beach Resort and the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Casino.
“We are encouraged to see so many businesses interested in participating,” The SHTA said in a press statement. “This clearly indicates that there is a need to bridge the gap between job seekers and businesses.”
The University of St. Martin, the Inter-Continental University of the Caribbean (ICUC/Cruises) and Nipa will be at the fair to help job hunters with relevant information about upgrading courses and studies, and upgrading resumes.
Job hunters and businesses can still register via the website www.shta.com. Under the Events tab is a Job fair tab that directs visitors to the appropriate forms.
Last but not least: Beau Beau’s restaurant and Infinity restaurant, both located in Oyster Bay, will raffle dinner tickets and gift certificates among job hunters that register for the event.