Feature
City & Guild Representative for Jamaica and the Caribbean, Marva Duncanson.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • City & Guilds International Limited has been the largest provider of vocational education across 80 countries for 142 years.
  • Locally, it has been a credible option to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), for students at grades 11, 12 and 13.
  • City & Guilds representative for Jamaica and the Caribbean, Marva Duncanson, tells JIS News that for over 14 decades, the organisation has been developing syllabi/curricula and certification and offering qualifications, assessments and accreditation for secondary education.

City & Guilds International Limited has been the largest provider of vocational education across 80 countries for 142 years.

Locally, it has been a credible option to the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), for students at grades 11, 12 and 13.

City & Guilds representative for Jamaica and the Caribbean, Marva Duncanson, tells JIS News that for over 14 decades, the organisation has been developing syllabi/curricula and certification and offering qualifications, assessments and accreditation for secondary education.

She notes that as the educational landscape shifts, the organisation has been gaining major grounds in Jamaica.

In 2010, City & Guilds Mathematics and English were offered alongside CSEC to students in the Career Advancement Programme (CAP).

However, in 2012 it was extended to grade-11 students preparing to exit the secondary-school system and hence needed an option to CSEC.

“The Ministry of Education Youth and Information realised that there was a need for more students to be registered for Mathematics and English, because research showed that 45 per cent of the national fifth-form cohort were not being registered for these two subjects and they wanted an option so that there would be parity among students,” Ms Duncanson explains.

She notes, further, that City & Guilds is focused on vocational education and competency, and, as a result, students are prepared for the world of work. She, however, notes that CSEC is described as conceptual and is designed for persons going on to tertiary-level studies.

“As a competence-based institution, we concentrate on job-readiness for secondary-school graduates. We operate under the tagline ‘Let’s get you into a job, and moving up on the job and moving on to the next job’,” she points out.

“City & Guilds is proficient in what it offers, and the Ministry is committed to providing an opportunity for each student in secondary school to sit an exit exam in Mathematics and English, at minimum, along with a skill, be assessed and receive certification,” she adds.

In November 2019, the Government of Jamaica signed a 10-year contract valued at £12.2 million with City & Guilds International Limited for the provision of examinations for and certification of students.

Under the Cabinet-approved arrangement, City & Guilds will provide testing and certification for selected students in grades 11, 12 and 13 in Mathematics, English, Engineering and Customer Service and across 12 occupational areas in the Skills Proficiency Awards.

The occupational areas include Carpentry, Electrical Installation, Fabrication, Welding & Pipework; Food & Beverage; Food Preparation; Housekeeping; Information Technology for Office Applications; Masonry; Motor Cycle Repairs; Motor Vehicle Repairs; Painting & Decoration; and Plumbing.

The Engineering component of this 10-year agreement is being operationalised through schools at the sixth-form level, where students sit the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Mathematics, Physics and City & Guilds.

Ms. Duncanson points out that the Ministry is providing an opportunity for students to attain up to a Level 3 qualification in Engineering, which puts them at a professional level as an Engineering Technician.

This, she says, gives them access to global employment at the managerial level. Successful candidates can achieve post-nominal letters, EngTech. They also receive advanced placement to the Mona School of Engineering.

Currently, 108 sixth-form students across five schools – York Castle High and Brown’s Town Community College in St. Ann, Excelsior High School, Jamaica College and the Institute of International Recognized Qualifications (IIRQ) in Kingston have registered to pursue engineering.

Another element of the 10-year arrangement is the issuing of digital badges. In 2019, 3,000 candidates who successfully sat the Customer Service exam were digitally badged. This means that the usual physical certificates are electronic with built-in safety features. They are easily verifiable, cannot be hacked and can be traced back to City & Guilds to confirm validity.

“Our qualifications are portable and transferable globally. As an outwardly migrating people, this kind of qualification makes it so much easier to find employment overseas,” Ms Duncanson says.

City & Guilds is offered in 145 secondary schools islandwide to students in grade 11 and technical sixth forms (CAP).

Further, the Human Employment and Resource Training/National Service Training Agency (HEART/NSTA) Trust is now offering City & Guilds Mathematics and English to students in HEART Academies.

Business Development Officer at City and Guilds, Krystle Daley, disclosed that the organisation also provides accreditation for private training institutions that develop their own curriculum that they want to be internationally recognised and accredited.

This, she says, is done through the organisation’s Assured Accreditation model or through the Institute of Leadership and Management (IML) which is a subsidiary of the City & Guilds of London Group.

Between 2011 and 2019, City & Guilds awarded 96,000 certificates to Jamaican students in Mathematics and English, which has impacted the lives of 48,000 students.

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