Trench Town Polytechnic College Providing Training For The Labour Market

Photo: Dave Reid Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites (right), shares a light moment with Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, and Member of Parliament for South St. Andrew, Hon. Dr. Omar Davies (left). Occasion was the official opening of the Trench Town Polytechnic College in South St. Andrew on November 17. Others sharing the moment are Tosshell Small; and Director, Region 1, Ministry of Education, Patrice Supria.

Story Highlights

  • The recently established Trench Town Polytechnic College has commenced training its first cohort of 381 students in a range of technical and vocational skills.
  • Principal of the college, Dosseth Edwards-Watson, tells JIS News that the institution, located at Eight Street in the South St. Andrew community, is focussed on preparing young people in areas that are in high demand in the labour market.
  • The TTPC, which started classes on October 5, offers pre college programmes through partnerships with the HEART Trust/NTA, Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) and the Jamaica-German Automotive School (JAGAS).

The recently established Trench Town Polytechnic College has commenced training its first cohort of 381 students in a range of technical and vocational skills.

Principal of the college, Dosseth Edwards-Watson, tells JIS News that the institution, located at Eight Street in the South St. Andrew community, is focussed on preparing young people in areas that are in high demand in the labour market.

The TTPC, which started classes on October 5, offers pre college programmes through partnerships with the HEART Trust/NTA, Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) and the Jamaica-German Automotive School (JAGAS).

These include data operation, auto-body repair, customer service, maritime studies, port operations and logistics. There are also core courses in mathematics, English, accounts and information technology.

The school also offers an entrepreneurship course to assist in career development. “We are training persons that the workplace will demand,” Mrs. Edwards-Watson says.

She says the curriculum is designed to give students a holistic education that will allow them to have a competitive advantage.

“The thinking behind all of this is that companies can no longer employ seven persons to do seven jobs, so essentially, (the students) are going to be taught a number of different skill sets so that when the company hires this one person, he/she will be able to offer skills in many different areas,” she points out.

Mrs. Edwards-Watson tells JIS News that plans are being put in place to offer specialised courses based on the specific needs of the various industries.

“We intend to offer bespoke programmes… so if a company needs a particular set of workers to be trained in a particular skill area, we will go into the company and assess those needs and then try to provide the courses and the training programmes and personnel for those businesses,” she informs.

Young people from various communities in South St. Andrew, Gordon Town, Portmore and Harbour View, are being trained at the institution, located at the site of the former Trench Town High School, which was merged with Charlie Smith High in September of this year.

Under the direction of the Ministry of Education, the students of Trench Town High were transferred to the neighbouring Charlie Smith High to accommodate the TTPC.

The Ministry of Education has collaborated with the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing to renovate the building.

The Ministry of Education has pledged some $25.59 million for the works with the Transport Ministry providing skilled workers to carry out the refurbishing.

Already, the classrooms have been painted, and the engineering and hospitality labs will be retrofitted to ensure that the technical subjects are supported by modern technologies and resources for practical application.

Mrs. Watson-Edwards says that the HEART/Trust NTA will be providing a portion of the funding to furnish these labs.

“We want to ensure that as a polytechnic, we have the resources to support our programmes. A lot of technology is involved in those skill (areas). If we want to remain at the cutting edge of technology and on the cutting edge of industry, we have to get those tools that will equip our students,” she points out.

The TTPC is looking to establish its presence in the landscape of community colleges across the island.

The Ministry of Education has submitted an application to Cabinet for the institution to be fully registered as a community college.

Mrs. Edwards-Watson tells JIS News that following Cabinet’s approval, prospective students will have to meet the matriculation requirements of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ).

The minimum entry requirements stipulated by the CCCJ are five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)/General Certificate of Education (GCE) subjects inclusive of mathematics and English or a technical subject.

Mrs. Edwards-Watson says the college is also seeking to partner with other institutions to offer a variety of   technical subjects.

“We want to forge partnerships with some polytechnics elsewhere to see to what extent we can have some exchange programmes to have a (mutually beneficial) exchange of resources…essentially what we want to do is to pull on those programmes that are in demand by industry to offer to our students,” she says.

“If (the programmes) are out there and they are accredited and that’s what the industry needs, then certainly, we will move towards offering those,” she adds.

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