JIS News

During the 2007/08 fiscal year, the HEART Trust/NTA and the National Council on Technical Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) enrolled a total of 106,258 persons for training, assessment and certification services.
As set out in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House of Representatives on May 20 by the Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, the HEART Trust/NTA also partnered with more than 2,000 enterprises through on-the-job training interventions, and supported some 100 community-based training projects.
To date, through the NCTVET, there are 37 Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs), which conduct formal assessment for certification, thereby increasing access to programmes within the National Qualifications Framework, which are recognized by employers in Jamaica and overseas.
Additionally, the HEART Trust/NTA maintained its leadership in the region, with Jamaica becoming one of the first countries in CARICOM to be authorised to issue Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs), which will replace the National Vocational Qualification – Jamaica (NVQ-J) within two years. The CVQ responds to the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) requirement for the free movement of certified labour across the region.
In response to labour market needs, HEART has moved towards increasing higher level training and last year approximately 28 per cent of enrolment in the NVQ-J and unit competency programmes, was at level 2 or higher.
In terms of certification, persons acquiring NVQ qualifications have more than doubled since 2002/03, moving from 12,753 to 26,488 in 2007/08, with total certification totalling 46,066.
The HEART Trust/NTA has also seen an increase in employed and unemployed persons participating in short programmes, which provide them with the competency to obtain full occupational qualification. In 2007/08, some 5,506 workers in a variety of firms including construction, hotels, supermarkets and financial institutions were certified. Certification rates exceed 90 per cent in all programme categories.
The HEART Trust/NTA partnered with 40 public and private sector organisations to strengthen the linkages in providing training and certification to the Jamaican workforce during the fiscal year 2007/08. Also during the period, HEART Trust/NTA approved seven new community-based training projects totalling $19 million, and creating 490 new training spaces.
Promotion of the Trust’s TVET programme in secondary schools is progressing with over 9,946 students taking NCTVET approved courses in the technical high schools. Wider adaptation by the secondary school system has been identified as a priority for policy development and implementation in 2008/09.
Some challenges encountered during the 2007/08 period include the weak basic education of applicants, with approximately 60 per cent of applicants not being successful in the grade nine diagnostic assessment. There was also slow uptake of NVQs in the secondary school system; the low job growth in the economy to absorb graduates; and the continuing difficulty of grappling with at-risk and unattached youth, with their varied behavioural, social, educational, economic and even psychological problems for which the agency is, in many instances, ill-equipped and under-resourced to address.
During the 2008/09 fiscal year, the agency plans to increase enrolment in workforce development and on-the-job training to 30,000; increase enrolment in community-based training to 17,500; facilitate participation by 23,000 persons per year in schools, tertiary institutions and private training providers; expand assessment services and integrate these services into the regular functions of institutions, including provisions for recognition of prior learning to enable existing workers to pursue certification.
In addition, a new strategic plan for the period 2008/09-2012/13 will be developed by June 2008, and will include a focus on new training programmes inclusive of the creative industries in order for students to be exposed to training for careers such as stage manager and sound and light technician.