Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, said that technical and vocational training are paramount in developing a well-rounded workforce with the capability to meet the demands of the global job market and contribute to nation building.
“The statistics tell us that some 80 per cent of the employment opportunities in this generation and more in the next generations to come will require technical and vocational skills,” Mr. Thwaites said.
He was speaking on March 15 at the official launch of HEART Trust/NTA’s Southwest Technical Vocational Education and Training Institute (TVET) in Newport, Manchester.
The Education Minister said that while practical and vocational skills are often looked on unfavourably, the local and international jobs markets are demanding persons with such training.
He suggested that traditional learning should be coupled with technical and vocational training. “We are recognising the significance of all aspects of education, not just the classical variety that is offered at traditional high schools. We are recognising that this world is changing, and so must the system of education and training,” he said.
Mr. Thwaites stated that the opening of the Southwest TVET Institute is important in meeting human resource needs. “I expect an epiphany of small businesses in the centre of Jamaica, emerging from those who will train here,” he said.
He encouraged the students to use the facility efficiently and prudently “because they represent the best investment that the average ordinary Jamaican, who pays tax for anything, is contributing to”.
For her part, Executive Director, HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Carolyn Hayle, said the programmes offered at the TVET Institutes are fashioned according to the demographics of the respective regions, and are aimed at providing economic opportunity and employment within each area.
The Southwest TVET Institute was established in April 2011 with the merger of three vocational training centres – Black River, Junction and Newport.
The Black River campus offers business services; building construction; healthcare services and nutrition; courses in engineering services, furniture and website design, among other areas at Junction; while the Newport campus has broadened its programme offerings to levels 3 and 4 diploma and associate degree programmes in the areas of events management, culinary management, sous chef, domestic electrical installation, lighting operations, and nursery care.
For further details on additional programmes offered at the Institute, please visit the HEART Trust/NTA's website or call at 1-876-965-7811.
HEART Trust/NTA will celebrate its 30th anniversary on November 4.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter