TAPPING INTO A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES
YUTE Microwork pilots far reaching self-employment opportunities online
YUTE Microwork, one of the innovative new programmes implemented in 2014, offers at-risk young Jamaicans a chance to tap into self-employment opportunities around the world, via the Internet. A total of 90 YUTE participants benefited from a one-day training workshop in a pilot of this project in February 2014 in collaboration with two of the US’s leading online work management platforms, CrowdFlower and Mobile Works. Hundreds more stand to gain when preparations to launch the full YUTE Microwork programme come on stream in 2015.
This unique global outreach is being achieved in partnership with CrowdFlower, and thanks to sponsorship from Northeastern University’s Social Enterprise Institute in the US and the Jamaica Money Market Brokers’ Joan Duncan Foundation.
Microwork is a series of small tasks, which have been broken out of a larger project, that can be completed via the Internet by any worker anywhere in the world who has access to a computer and the Internet. The tasks are varied and flexible, catering to skills ranging from basic to complex, and can include tasks in sectors such as market research, data input, data verification, copywriting, graphic design and even software development. This is therefore a particularly promising area offering digital earning opportunities for YUTE participants.
“Microwork can have a truly transformational impact on job creation in Jamaica and across the Caribbean,” YUTE Executive Director Alicia Glasgow Gentles points out, adding, “Young people in Jamaica have borne the brunt of the country’s weak performance in job creation and have been disproportionately affected. There is potential for Microwork to create significant employment for disadvantaged youths and women in developing countries. It can also contribute to GDP and export revenues of developing countries.
A market study has also estimated that more than one million workers have earned US$1–2 billion via microwork in the past 10 years worldwide and the market could be worth several billion US dollars within the next five years. Microwork can also contribute to the reduction of poverty in rural areas. It can help narrow the urban-rural disparity and reduce relative poverty through improving market access, creating new employment opportunities for rural areas, strengthening information service delivery at local levels and helping to integrate new rural generations into modern society.
CrowdFlower boasts the largest on-demand workforce, of five million contributors from around the world, with clients including Apple, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Twitter. Mobile Works focuses on reinventing crowd sourcing as an engine for technological and social change.
The 90 YUTE participants who took part in the workshop all had basic to intermediary computer skills. They were introduced to the world of Microwork and guided in the setting up of accounts with the CrowdFlower and Mobile Works websites. They also completed online quizzes to gauge their levels of expertise and were taught to match their skills to suitable tasks, and to track their work history. In addition, they were advised on how to increase earning capacity by improving their skills to access higher paying tasks.