Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Retooling project aims to aid 3,000-plus annually

Published:Saturday | November 19, 2016 | 11:00 AM

The HEART Trust/NTA, in collaboration with the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE), has officially launched a three-year upskilling and retooling project aimed at improving the competencies of employers, employees, retirees, and students.

The programme's goal is to upskill a minimum of 3,000 persons annually in order to improve employee readiness, retention, and productivity, in particular, impact sectors targeted by the Government for growth and expansion.

Some 2,281 persons have already been engaged in training since the $30-million project became operational two months ago.

Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid, speaking at the launch ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday, said the upskilling and retooling project demonstrates the creativity being brought to the sector in offering relevant and practical programmes for persons, particularly youth.

TRAINING DEMAND

"This launch comes in the context of greater demands by employers and employees for relevant training to meet the needs of the workplace. There is also the clamour for training by self-employed persons to enable them to do a better job in service delivery and increase their earning potential," he said.

Reid said this was also in line with a policy priority by the ministry to promote and foster a culture of lifelong learning and professional development.

"Along with HEART Trust/NTA, we want to create a robust system that enables all students with multiple opportunities and pathways so they can continue their educational development. Jamaica's economic progress lies in a commitment by the people to pursue education and training beyond the secondary level," he added.

The minister congratulated all stakeholders involved in the development of the programme and urged the partnership of employees and employers across the island.

He said that the programme would help to equip the general labour force with skills to advance to high-paying jobs, while also improving the mindset of employees towards greater levels of productivity.

The programme, to include technical skills and leadership training, will be managed through the Leadership Academy by the JCTE and the Professional Skills Academy by the HEART Trust/

NTA. Professional development certification will be issued to participants upon successful completion of the programme.

Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA Dr Wayne Wesley said the upskilling project is based on four specific principles: acknowledgement of the need to address skills deficits; creation of programmes aligned with occupational standards; investment in the workforce towards economic and employment growth; and creating public-private partnerships to increase access.

"Investment in our human resources fuels productivity, innovation, investment, economic competitiveness, and sustainable and inclusive growth," he said.