Education Ministry To Place More Emphasis On Vocational Skills Training


Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness says more emphasis will be placed on the promotion and acquisition of vocational skills based training, a critical component of economic growth.
“The Ministry is focusing on the labour market aspect of growth, which is to provide an education base on top of which you can train people, and then to provide the infrastructure for training, which matches the needs of industry,” the Minister said.
“This will give the trainees a broad base of knowledge and practical skills, so that they are not stuck in one career, but they can move from career to career over a lifetime,” Mr. Holness told JIS News, at the 60th anniversary dinner of World Skills International, held at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, on October 9.
He added that vocational based education, alongside traditional learning, will eventually produce a better rounded labour force, which is prepared to meet rigorous employment demands and standards, both locally and globally.
“The challenge that we have in Jamaica is that there is a duality between skills and knowledge, and we tend to look down on skills, and the truth is, you can’t build the economy on the academic research and the traditional careers alone,” he said.
Mr. Holness added that measures are being examined for the expansion of skills training, citing the critical role which the Ministry’s Career Advancement Programme (CAP) and HEART Trust/National Training Agency (NTA) will play in the process.
The Minister said that World Skills is a great institution, which promotes the equality of both skills and knowledge, and that Jamaica’s participation in World Skills gives the country access and exposure to international markets, while providing further access to international standards.
World Skills Jamaica, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and HEART Trust/NTA, hosted the General Assembly of World Skills International at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel, in New Kingston, from October 3 to 10.
Official and technical delegates representing the organisation’s highest decision making group from 53 member countries met to review the state of international technical vocational skills, and held a landmark leadership election.
The delegates, who are influential members from the public and private sectors in their respective countries, also had meetings with local business, academic and government leaders during their stay on the island.
Jamaica is the first country in the region to host the General Assembly, having edged Singapore for the bid by 27 to 19 votes.
Jamaica is also the first Caribbean country to join World Skills International in 2004. Selected skill sector winners from the National Competition will represent Jamaica at the World Skills International Competition in London, England, in 2011.
World Skills International is dedicated to the promotion and recognition of technical, vocational and application based education and training.

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