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MONTEGO BAY — Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, says  he is not satisfied with the number of persons in the labour force who are trained and certified in vocational areas.

Using statistics from an October 2010 Statistical Institute collation, which showed that only nine per cent of the employed labour force has technical vocational training, the Education Minister said that this does not augur well for the Jamaican economy.

"If we are going to be competing in today's world, if we are going to be taking the jobs of the future, if we are going to be the place of choice for persons to send their business to be done, then you cannot only depend on academic professional qualifications, you have to build your technical and vocational capacity," he said

"I am not satisfied that only nine percent of the Jamaican labour force is trained and certified in the vocational area," he emphasised, arguing that there is need to accelerate the pace of training in  vocational areas.

He made the comments at the rebranding and renaming of the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT),  in Montego Bay, to the HEART College of Innovation and Technology (HCIT), at a ceremony at the Montego Bay Convention Centre on Thursday, September 15.

Mr. Holness made reference to a number of developed countries around the world, which have invested heavily in technical institutes that parallel their academic tertiary sector, noting that the conversion of the HEART institutes into colleges was part of a broader Government strategy.

CIT is the second HEART institute to be rebranded under the strategy. According to Mr. Holness, the plan is that the rebranded institutions will eventually become technical universities.

By Bryan Miller
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE
MONTEGO BAY