JIS News

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  • Jamaicans are being urged to take advantage of skills training and certification programmes available through institutions such as the HEART Trust/NTA to become better equipped for the job market.
  • Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says employers have indicated a need for workers to be trained and certified to meet marketplace needs and demands.
  • The Minister said while it is not intended to abandon the “basics of education” and the accompanying “fundamental competencies”, consideration must be given to restructuring the current educational provisions to incorporate greater focus on skills training.

Jamaicans are being urged to take advantage of skills training and certification programmes available through institutions such as the HEART Trust/NTA to become better equipped for the job market.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says employers have indicated a need for workers to be trained and certified to meet marketplace needs and demands.

The Minister, who was speaking at HEART Trust/NTA’s Economic Growth Symposium and Public Lecture on Wednesday (October 1), at the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, cited a 2012 Ministry of Labour and Social Security study, which showed that 34 per cent of employers surveyed, had stated a need for skills training for their employees.

He noted that a large percentage of employers also stressed the importance of customer service training for their workforce.

The Minister said while it is not intended to abandon the “basics of education” and the accompanying “fundamental competencies”, consideration must be given to restructuring the current educational provisions to incorporate greater focus on skills training.

“It is more important that we should look at the needs of the economy (and) it is time now for a new suite of skills, a new set of competencies, much more articulated to the marketplace and to the country’s development objectives, as well as to personal aspirations,” he stated.

Rev. Thwaites pointed out that HEART Trust/NTA is strategically placed to play a leading role in this regard.

 

He said through its workforce colleges, the agency has been able to produce highly skilled workers for a range of sectors, adding that “all of this is in addition to the range of traditional as well as new and emerging technical and vocational skill areas that are taught in several of the agency’s institutes.”

“HEART must deepen their workforce certification practices and make it possible for many, who do competent work, but are not certified for one reason or another, to be able to gain the certification that is necessary for their advancement,” he contended.

A wide cross section of public and private sector stakeholders attended the two-day symposium and public lecture, which HEART jointly staged with the Ministry of Industry, Investment, and Commerce; and the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Alliance, under the theme: ‘Economic Growth through MSMEs: Creating an Integrated Strategy’.

Key presenters include: HEART Executive Director, Dr. Wayne Wesley; Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) Deputy Director General, Richard Lumsden; Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) Chairman, Professor Winston Davidson;  Associate Professor, Harvard University, USA, Dr. Matt Andrews; and Africa Programme Fellow at the institution, Dr. Brad Cunningham.