Cable TV ended my university education — as a Lit major with a thing for movies. One night in March 2002, a scene played out on the Sharp 20” in my one-bedroom apartment on Hutton Road: detectives thumbed through a high-school yearbook searching for their man — my burning bush nudge to drop out of UWI and start my own yearbook company.
Five years in the yearbook was dead.
A book of stories and captions, and cutlines below photos of friends whose good looks would be ruined by coffee spills?
Everyone had started to connect on Facebook — my once loyal customers included — sharing photos and gossip and just about everything online for free.
It’s About Supply and Demand
Careers, like businesses, can plateau when demand plummets. You thrive only when people want what you do, what you sell, what you bring to the table.
If people will dump the fine art of yearbook-signing for Facebook-poking you can be sure your employer would replace you if new technology shows up and, faced with the prospect of slower sales, you lack the skills to help the company compete.
Had I predicted that demand for hardcover books would shift to social connections on the Web, I might have avoided late nights scrambling to plug the cash sinkhole.
That’s why you should download this document.
Compiled by the scholarship division of the Ministry of Public Administration, the National Development Human Resource Needs List begs for attention like a traffic warden’s hand signals.
If you’re searching for jobs in Trinidad, here’s where the government sees the most opportunities:
From clinical haematology to geriatric medicine, the health sector has several opportunities for people with postgraduate qualifications. Of the 129 academic programmes listed, 108 have a postgraduate priority one ranking — the widest gap — where demand exceeds available skills by over 60 percent.
You do well to also look at neurology, nursing oncology, medical microbiology, laparoscopy and forensic psychiatry, so, too, practically anything to do with diabetes and healthcare policy.
For those of you considering a Bachelor’s, just two undergraduate programmes got a priority one ranking: microbiology and MRI radiology.
Petroleum and Mining
The energy sector reported deep skills shortages in all but one area — postgraduate studies in chemical and process engineering — by the middle of last year.
Priority one job opportunities include occupational health and safety, oil and gas management, petroleum economics, renewable energy engineering, petroleum law, mining geology, and asset integrity management, which is a big deal given T&T’s aging plants.
Despite the drop in oil prices and moves to downsize at companies like bpTT, there’s still demand for qualified people. Take note, UTT students.
As you might expect, law enforcement, where we spend a ton of money, needs all the help it can get.
Forensic investigation and forensic auditing and evidence gathering show a significant skills gap at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
These programmes are priority one along with forensic pathology and network and cyber security, where the widest skills gap is confined to postgraduate jobs.
The chronic skills shortages in education show up at both undergrad and postgrad levels on the list. Academic programmes reporting a priority one postgraduate skills gap include education testing and evaluation, educational psychology, and school psychology.
The country also appears to be in urgent need of more teachers for dance, drama, theatre arts and music education as well as early childhood care and education.
STEM Degrees Rule Them All
Some people start degrees without facts or context and then wonder why they’re not paid what they expected. Or why, after a few years in some industries, they don’t see any room to grow.
Much of that is good ‘ole supply and demand.
Glance at the national development needs list and you’ll notice a trend: demand surged for professionals with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) qualifications, not at all inconsistent with what’s happening elsewhere in the world.
The needs list is a heads-up about where demand for professional skills really is, the industries with the most opportunities — not just the ones listed here. If you want to earn a competitive wage, refer to it before you sprint off after some nebulous, meandering “passion.” Marketable skills trump passion.
To borrow a line from Cal Newport: be so good, they can’t ignore you.