JAMAICANS URGED TO GET TRAINED AND CERTIFIED FOR JOB MARKET
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
ByDr. Fenton Ferguson
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
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
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