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  • Persons with disabilities are being afforded greater opportunities to pursue technical and vocational education, through the HEART Trust/National Training Agency (HEART/NTA).
  • Executive Director, Dr. Wayne Wesley, says since 2014, over 40 of these persons have enrolled in programmes at HEART academies and training institutions island wide.
  • This facilitation, he noted, is consistent with a mandate from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, for the Agency to place greater focus on providing training opportunities for this cohort.

Persons with disabilities are being afforded greater opportunities to pursue technical and vocational education, through the HEART Trust/National Training Agency (HEART/NTA).

Executive Director, Dr. Wayne Wesley, says since 2014, over 40 of these persons have enrolled in programmes at HEART/NTA academies and training institutions island wide.

This facilitation, he noted, is consistent with a mandate from Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, for the Agency to place greater focus on providing training opportunities for this cohort.

The Executive Director was speaking at the recent launch of HEART/NTA’s new mobile services programme, in Duckenfield, St. Thomas.

Dr. Wesley indicated that 18 of the over 40 students graduated in 2014, after attaining level three National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQJ) certification in massage therapy, while another eight completed level one certification in customer service, this year.

He further advised that 12 persons are currently pursuing the domestic/consumer electronics programme at the College of Construction Services, in Portmore,

St. Catherine, while others are studying early childhood development, up to level three, at the Granville and Petersfield vocational training centres in St. James and Westmoreland, respectively.

“We have (also) partnered with Abilities Foundation to train several persons with disabilities, in data operations…furniture making…and housekeeping level two,” the Executive Director stated.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wesley said HEART/NTA has created a national diagnostics and assessment referral system, to determine how best to accommodate persons applying for enrolment and training.

“We use the diagnostics assessment (system) to determine the level at which those persons coming to us are at, and the appropriate intervention is recommended (for them),” he added.

The mobile services programme is designed to further expand HEART/NTA’s delivery of technical and vocational education and training.

The venture, which was launched by Prime Minister Simpson Miller, is the first being undertaken in Jamaica.

Residents in rural communities, who do not currently have access to technical and vocational training and education offered through HEART’s network of over 30 academies and affiliated training institutions, will be targeted.

This will be undertaken through the utilisation of mobile laboratories and career counselling units.

The first two of these facilities, the ‘HEART  Sparks’ mobile welding laboratory, and ‘Career Coach’ counselling unit, which will be based at the St. Thomas Technical High School, were unveiled during the launch.

The laboratory is the first of three that will be rolled out during the 2015/16 fiscal year.

Two additional facilities that will provide training in food preparation and electronics maintenance and repair, along with another career counselling unit, will also be provided by HEART/NTA.

The mobile services initiative is consistent with the Government’s Human Capital Strategic Priority, focusing on education for individual advancement and national development.