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Great Demand for Upskilling and Retooling Programme


JIS: Launched officially in November last year, a project to improve the competencies of employers, employees, retirees and students has garnered so much demand that the target for participants has been significantly increased.


The three-year Upskilling and Retooling Jamaica programme, implemented by HEART Trust/NTA, in collaboration with the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE), targeted the training of approximately 3,000 persons each year. However, having trained 2,700 persons as at January 31, the target was moved to 10,000 per year.


This is according to JCTE Chairman, Dr. Cecil Cornwall, speaking at the launch of an Absorptive Capacity Programme recently.


He said a team of project officers has been going to communities across the island meeting with youth club leaders, children’s homes, Members of Parliament and councillors.


“They will be visiting every parish in Jamaica over the next few months to ensure that training is brought to the four corners of the country,” Dr. Campbell said.


He announced that large companies, such as Digicel Jamaica, have come on board, with the agencies to implement the programme with their employees.


Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, addressing the launch of the $30-million project in November, said it demonstrates the creativity being brought to the sector in offering relevant and practical programmes for persons, particularly youth.


“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.


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


The programme, which the Minister said will 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, will improve employee readiness, retention, and productivity, in particular, impacting sectors targeted by the Government for growth and expansion.


It includes technical skills and leadership training, 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.


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.


CAPTION: Chairman of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education (JCTE), Dr. Cecil Cornwall (right), looks on as Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), is greeted by Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Maxine P. Wilson (2nd right), ahead of the launch of an Absorptive Capacity Programme by the institution, in partnership with the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education on February 2 at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston. At second left is Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.