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  • Executive Director of HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Wayne Wesley, says Jamaica’s attainment of viable and sustainable economic development is dependent, to a significant extent, on the country having an adequately trained workforce.
  • He argues that over the last decade, there has been “increased realization” that for growth and development to occur, there needs to be “strong focus” on advanced skills training, as well as equipping the workforce with the requisite employability skills to improve economic competitiveness, and contribute to sustainable national development.
  • Dr. Wesley said, given the current unemployment challenges being experienced by persons, particularly by young people, it is imperative that graduates of the education and training system be equipped with the ability to create employment, rather than only seeking to be employed.

Executive Director of HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Wayne Wesley, says Jamaica’s attainment of viable and sustainable economic development is dependent, to a significant extent, on the country having an adequately trained workforce.

He argues that over the last decade, there has been “increased realization” that for growth and development to occur, there needs to be “strong focus” on advanced skills training, as well as equipping the workforce with the requisite employability skills to improve economic competitiveness, and contribute to sustainable national development.

The Executive Director underscored this point while speaking at the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) recent Labour Market Forum, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, under the theme – ‘Promoting Youth Employability and Entrepreneurship through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).’

Dr. Wesley said, given the current unemployment challenges being experienced by persons, particularly by young people, it is imperative that graduates of the education and training system be equipped with the ability to create employment, rather than only seeking to be employed.

This, he argued, requires a “fundamental shift” in the mindset of trainees having the expectation to graduate and seek employment.

“Accordingly, our education and training institutions must now strategically inculcate the entrepreneurial spirit within their graduates to ensure that when they leave (training institutions), they are equipped with the necessary skills to survive,” he further contended.

In this regard, Dr. Wesley said HEART Trust’s vision statement speaks to the institution’s creation of a workforce, trained and certified to international standard, “and, importantly, stimulating employment, creating investments, and looking at contributing towards the improved productivity of, not only enterprises, but individuals.”

He indicated that the institution’s mission has been “re-crafted” to incorporate “systematic design development” and delivery of an integrated, flexible, and responsive technical vocational education and training system that will prepare a productive workforce capable of fulfilling for national priorities and matching global competitiveness levels.

“Central to that mission is our need to integrate, working collaboratively with (stakeholders in) the entire education and training system,… (and) our ability to change and efficiently and effectively respond to meet the needs of employers (while enhancing)…our capacity to remain relevant and innovative. We have looked at what is happening, and…we have begun to look at the areas that are really driven by Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM),” he pointed out.

He cited animation, applications development, business process outsourcing, and logistics, as examples.

“So…we want our trainees to develop and benefit from STEM areas…integrating STEM in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes, not only in schools, but right across the education and training system…equipping trainees with the necessary skills to transition into higher level programmes and raising graduate profile creativity and innovation. This is all towards ensuring that Jamaica is competitive and would have recognized increased productivity, going forward,” he added.

 

The forum, which was held to disseminate labour market information to participants to enable them to make informed career choices, was staged in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Labour Market Information Technical Advisory Committee (LMITAC); Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); and HEART Trust/NTA.

 

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