JIS News

The Jamaican government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is moving to facilitate Red Seal certification for skilled labourers, who have been recruited for jobs in Canada.
Labour Minister, Pearnel Charles, made the disclosure at a media briefing held at his North Street office on (Dec. 18).
Red Seal certification is the highest trade qualification obtainable in Canada and is recognized in several countries including the United States. The certification is a pre-requisite for both natives and foreign nationals seeking employment in vocational areas in Canada, and is administered by the British Columbia Industrial Training Agency (BCITA). Both the Ministry and BCITA have discussed the prospects of implementing the Red Seal certification locally. Arising from these discussions, the BCITA has sent two senior officials – Lindsay Langill, Director of the Red Seal Programme, and Jeff Nugent, Director, Policy & Research, to explore and conduct pilot testing of the accreditation process.
According to Minister Charles, the Red Seal will be awarded to workers, who have received National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) certification from the HEART Trust/NTA. There are currently some 175,000 workers, who hold the NVQJ certification.
HEART and BCITA will collaborate on the programme, which, when implemented, will place certified Jamaican workers on par with the foreign counterparts, reduce the length of time taken to process job applicants from 26 weeks to five days, and allow holders to access attendant benefits.
While the Ministry aims to have all category of labourers certified, focus will initially be on construction workers, Mr. Charles pointed out.”We have asked the Canadian authorities to come to Jamaica and assist us to Red Seal our (NVQJ) certified construction workers. HEART will combine the Red Seal curriculum with the Jamaican curriculum to produce an internationally accepted construction worker,” he said.
The Minister disclosed that so far, some 572 construction workers have been identified and selected to commence the programme, adding that the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ) fully supports the initiative.
In the meantime, Minister Charles noted that a number of requests have been forthcoming from other countries for Jamaican workers, and while the Ministry will be seeking to meet these requests, this will not be done to the detriment of the local construction sector.
Mr. Langill, in his remarks, said that skilled labour force in British Columbia “is certainly in need of quality people, who can help our industry on a variety of projects”.
We not only see this (local Red Seal certification) as a possibility to help the Canadian economy with a rounded skilled workforce, but also in terms that it will help Jamaica as a return on their investment,” he opined.
Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Donald Foster noted that there are some similarities in the standards of the NVQJ and Red Seal programme, adding that the agencies will be undertaking mapping and matching activities to arrange training for locals.
“We will be putting in place the mechanism for Jamaicans who want to work in Canada to get their Red Seal certification right here in Jamaica,” he said.