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close this book Daughters of Sysiphus
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View the document The construction labour force

The construction labour force

There is a large construction labour force in Jamaica and the sector absorbs high levels of unskilled and semi-skilled labour from low-income settlements. However, the participation of women, particularly at the trade levels of the industry is negligible despite a willingness on the part of the local private sector to absorb female trained labour. (Mcleod 1984, 1986) The lack of supply of female semi-skilled and skilled labour has a great deal to do with Government's training policies which severely restrict entry of women to the island's main construction skills training institution. Only women who live in the immediate area of the institution are eligible for entry, and training initiatives developed by the voluntary sector, while proving dramatically successful in terms of job placements, have simply been unable to finance the turnover required to make a major impact on the industry as a whole.

The lack of access that women have had to construction skills training and the traditional perception that construction is a man's job has meant that public expenditure on construction labour, even in low-income settlement-upgrading schemes, has rarely, if ever, been of any direct benefit to the women who live in those communities.