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Story Highlights

  • The Registered Apprenticeship Programme (RAP) is to be allocated increased funding in an effort to boost its effectiveness.
  • The RAP, launched in 2014 as a revival of an earlier version of the programme, provides an avenue for Jamaicans at various levels in their professional lives to enhance on-the-job skill competencies through a structured practical training programme.
  • The stakeholder consultation was geared at urging more employers to collaborate with the programme.

The Registered Apprenticeship Programme (RAP) is to be allocated increased funding in an effort to boost its effectiveness.

This was announced by Senior Director in the Workforce Development and Employment Division of the HEART Trust/NTA, Denworth Finnikin, at a stakeholder consultation, held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, in Kingston, on October  6.

“Very topical on the agenda of the HEART Trust/NTA is to ensure that there is increased funding and support towards the apprenticeship programme,” he said, noting that this highlights the institution’s commitment to the RAP.

The RAP, launched in 2014 as a revival of an earlier version of the programme, provides an avenue for Jamaicans at various levels in their professional lives to enhance on-the-job skill competencies through a structured practical training programme.

The stakeholder consultation was geared at urging more employers to collaborate with the programme.

“Employers, it is very important that you recognise your role, because what we seek to do is to ensure that you have a cadre of employees to ensure your business continue to survive,” Mr. Finnikin said.

He further called on tertiary institutions to partner with the RAP to allow for individuals who have completed the programme to gain further educational qualifications.

 

“It is important that we engage our young people in skills transfer. The fact that we need good artisans (and) good engineers is a compelling reason to ensure that we have a vibrant and effective apprenticeship system in the country and so the HEART Trust/NTA is committed to this programme,” he said.

As of September this year, 710 persons have been enrolled as apprentices in the programme. Of that number, 363 were assigned to employers, while the others have not been placed.

Meanwhile, Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, also called for greater employer involvement in the programme, which he describes as being critical for economic transformation in the country.

“Employers will do well to remember that the greatest asset to any company or business is its human resource. The task of training employees to cope with changes in the work environment is therefore critical, as firms automate and improve business processes to pre-empt and fulfil the demands of consumers,” he said.

The Minister argued that the retooling of the workforce lies at the centre of the growth agenda and the thrust towards building a logistics-centred economy.

Mr. Hylton also encouraged micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to take on apprentices, which will provide benefits such as filling skill gaps, developing future Managers and providing social benefits.

For his part, Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, said an effectively run apprenticeship programme will meet many of the current needs of the country, as it creates a critical link between education and training and the workplace and industry.

 

“Jamaica must become a knowledge and skills economy. We must become noted in the world as having the most adept, well qualified, sensitive and flexible labour force… supported by all of the social and cultural skills by which we are already known,” he said.

Seventy-one per cent of apprentices engaged in the programme are being trained in the construction industry. Another 116 are gaining experience in information and communications technology (ICT), 359 in business process outsourcing (BPO) services, 146 in hospitality and tourism and one in the creative industries.

Chairman of the Apprenticeship Board, Professor Gossett Oliver, made a presentation titled, ‘Lessons from the German experience’, which described best practices to be adopted based on a recent trip that a delegation from the RAP Board made to Germany to explore apprenticeship programmes in that country.

A presentation was also made by Senior Specialist in Skills Development Systems,  International Labour Organization (ILO), Dr. Michael Axmann which was titled, ‘Youth Employment and Apprenticeship’.