JIS News

The International Labour Organisation (ILO), has recommended that the Government work with the Inter-American Research and Documentation Centre on Vocational Training (CINTERFOR) in embarking on training programmes to re-train Jamaica’s workforce.
This suggestion was made by Director of the ILO’s Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Dr. Ana Teresa Romero, who proposed that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security collaborate with the Heart Trust/NTA in establishing the link with CINTERFOR.
Dr. Romero was responding to Labour and Social Security Minister, Hon. Pearnel Charles’ request for possible assistance from the ILO to re-train skilled local workers who have lost their jobs, during a meeting of ILO and Ministry officials at the latter’s North Street offices in Kingston on Wednesday (Aug.12).
Minister Charles indicated then that help, in terms of expertise, may be needed, as the re-training exercise would require people to train trainers. “We’re going to need more people like you (ILO) coming down to (not only) help us in guiding social dialogue, but also in guiding us (as to) what do we train for,” he added.
“So in the back of your mind, you can anticipate that we are going to have to seek your assistance in guiding us along the path of these international and financial institutions. Or you may be able to tell us what representation the ILO will make if they look at what we are saying as important to the re-vamping and redeveloping the economy of the world,” he said.
Dr. Romero informed that the ILO’s office in Uruguay recently convened a meeting in Colombia in which a number of Caribbean countries and national training agencies, including Jamaica’s HEART Trust/NTA, participated.
She proposed that, in this instance, arrangements could be made “whereby people who go to meetings of this kind, you bring them here (at the Ministry) for an hour or two and let them be debriefed so that they can tell you what kinds of discussions took place there and what sort of opportunities were presented as a result of their engagement in those sorts of processes.”
The Director pointed out that CINTERFOR, which is the vocational training and technical education arm of the ILO, has a network of institutions of which the HEART Trust/NTA is a member. She noted that Latin American countries that have benefitted from the programmes offered by CINTERFOR, are willing to make available to the country, the training packages they have for specialised skills in various areas.
“In fact, they have already begun the translation of a lot of that material, and are willing to enter into arrangements where they’ll send people to provide training and are willing to take people on internships. We are talking about countries with long traditions in vocational and technical education – Brazil, Colombia, Peru – and they are willing to make that available, and HEART Trust/NTA is aware of this, because they have been having dialogue with these institutions through CINTERFOR,” the Director informed.
Dr. Romeo underscored the importance of the Ministry partnering with the HEART Trust/NTA, in order to be aware of the training programmes available. “We just need to get in touch, because they (HEART) are in touch with CINTERFOR and they are involved in all of those processes, and we are willing to provide whatever support is required in those areas,” she assured.
Minister Charles had further indicated that re-training and re-skilling workers would be a costly exercise, for which assistance would also be needed to secure funding to undertake.
“Government has to come in and has to use some of the low pool of funding that we now have to train them. So some time down the line, we will be appealing to the international finance agencies for assistance…and I feel that the ILO, (with) the role that it plays internationally, will have to look at helping us to get funding for these sorts of programmes,” he said.
In response, Director of the ILO’s Policy Integration Department, Stephen Pursey, advised that in trying to arrange a strong international support package, one has to invest in social capital, in terms of the development of employment and skills, and the extension of social protection systems.
“The system of tri-partism and dialogue of sound labour relations,. that is a social capital which ought to be regarded as something to invest in…You’re investing,… in sound policies that have been thought through and are strong because they’re a package that we would be connecting our efforts (to implement in order) to deal with the most vulnerable. Training,… enterprise development,… infrastructure – all those elements of a strong policy are inter-connected,” he pointed out.
Mr. Pursey further contended that Jamaica has the basis on which to turn the current economic situation in the country around over a five to10-year period. “I think Jamaica is very well placed for that, because you’ve got so much to build on,” he noted.
The ILO is the tripartite United Nations (UN) agency that brings together the Governments, employers and workers of its member states in common action to promote decent work throughout the world.

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