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Occupational Studies degree offers more training options

Published:Friday | January 6, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right), Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid (second left) and Maxine P. Wilson Chairman for HEART Trust/NTA, at the unveiling of a plaque symbolically launching the new Occupational Studies Degree Programme – a joint project of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education and the HEART Trust/NTA. The launch took place in Montego Bay, St James, December 8, 2016

More Jamaican students now have the opportunity to access new occupational studies degree programmes under the direction of the Centre for Occupational Studies, an agency of the Ministry of Education.

An occupational degree is an industry-driven specialised industry-approved degree that focuses specifically on technical and vocational studies geared directly at workplace studies and employment.

Last December, just over 250 learners were certified, and an additional 250 Level 2 certified graduates of the Career Advancement Programme are expected to be enrolled this month.

These learners will be able to upgrade their competency levels to take advantage of higher-level job opportunities in emerging sectors of the economy.

Learners who possess the National Vocational Qualification of Jamaica (NVQ-J) or Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) certifications at Levels 2 or 3 will be able to access higher level skills in agro processing, restaurant operations, logistics and supply chain management.

Speaking at the launch of the programme in Montego Bay last month, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, the Government was embarking on a road where education was a top priority and would be expanded to ensure access for all regardless of status.

He said that a special skill set and certification were now required irrespective of the type of job, and this should be both encouraged and appreciated in order for the country to move forward.

In endorsing the programme, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid said that the programmes were in response to the demands of the workplace in terms of employers needing employees with practical and relevant skills.

"The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and its agencies have increased the emphases on technical and vocational training because that is an area of great need in Jamaica and, indeed, the world at present," Senator Reid added.

In her address chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA Maxine Wilson said that the courses selected were in areas targeted for growth and development and fit in perfectly with the Government's "5 in 4" growth agenda, that is, five per cent growth in GDP over the next four years.

She said, the HEART Trust/ NTA supported the growth policy and would deploy the necessary resources to train and certify Jamaica's people "to make it happen".

The official launch took place during the opening ceremony of an edu-technical and vocational education and training (TVET) conference at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Montego Bay, St James.

The conference was organised by the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education and the Heart Trust/NTA.