Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
The Education Ministry has joined the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce to reactivate the apprenticeship programme to target the logistics hub project.
It is expected that the apprenticeship programme will provide skilled workers in the marine, business processing outsourcing, hospitality and the creative industries.
The logistics hub is a major Government project aimed at capitalising on the expansion of the Panama Canal by 2015.
The re-activation of the apprenticeship programme comes amid concerns that Jamaicans may not be fully prepared to provide the required skilled persons in time for the opening of the logistics hub initiative.
Dr Paul Aiken, the Deputy dean of the School of Engineering at the University of the West Indies Mona campus, said the development of the hub will see a demand for a wide range of skills that the country is not yet prepared to take up.
He argued that if and when the hub is up and running, foreigners might have to be called in to fill certain positions.
However, at its first meeting held last week Wednesday, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites urged the new apprenticehip board to shape the apprenticeship programme based on the needs of the market place.
Industry, Investment and Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton pointed to the rapid need for the training of skilled workers to be employed in the logistics hub.
Professor Gossett Oliver has been appointed chairman of the apprenticeship board.
The new board has also been mandated to initiate a review of the Apprenticeship Act of 1955 while fast-tracking the provision of skilled workers through a revamped apprenticeship system.
The HEART Trust/National Training Agency is the implementing agency for the apprenticeship programme.
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