JIS: The employed workforce is to be trained and certified, free of cost, under an up- skilling programme to be launched by the HEART Trust/NTA at the end of April, says Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid.
Speaking at a contract signing ceremony between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the HEART Trust/NTA to train ancillary workers in schools, at JSIF’s headquarters, in Kingston, on March 7, Senator Reid said the Ministry has been examining a programme of this nature for some time, as a “significant percentage of our workforce have no formal training and certification.”
“We have been looking at the Indian model and they have developed a good one, which is called – Recognition of Prior Learning. I want the Jamaican workforce to be trained and certified,” the Minister emphasised.
Recognition of Prior Learning or Prior Learning Assessment is an internationally recognised system, which allows for the identification, documentation, assessment and recognition of prior learning experiences.
It allows tertiary institutions, adult learning centres and career development practitioners to determine whether an applicant, who does not meet the normal matriculation requirements, possesses the competencies that are required to enter a university course of study.
Under the JSIF’s Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP) Schools Ancillary Workers Project, a total of 240 persons from across 40 schools in Jamaica will be trained by the HEART Trust in various skills, including food safety, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene, customer service, safety and security, plant maintenance and landscaping.
The project is valued at $10.8 million and will last from April 2019 to March 2020. It is aimed at supporting Ministries, Departments and Agencies in developing and building the human capital within communities.
The project will also enhance the quality of service delivery and the standards established for this important cohort of individuals who operate within schools and communities.
Senator Reid said the project fits neatly into his own vision for having Jamaica’s workforce trained and certified.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said partnerships between his organisation and HEART Trust/NTA span its inception.
Together, both agencies have collaborated to build community and training centres, he recalled.
Mr. Sweeney noted that JSIF’s contribution to education is in excess of 40 per cent of total investments made over the last 23 years, and include support for building schools and sporting facilities and erecting fences.
Since 2014, the ICDP has resulted in a total of 692 persons being trained.
For his part, Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Edward Gabbidon, described the partnership as “worthwhile,” as it will ensure that ancillary members are “fulfilled and focused and will be given a sense of worth.”
“HEART has been investing in, and looking for partnerships of this sort and it is part of our mandate, because we cannot do it by ourselves. We are looking for those members in Government and in the private sector,” he said.
CAPTION: Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (second right), speaks to HEART Trust/NTA Chairman, Edward Gabbidon (right), at a contract signing ceremony between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the HEART Trust/NTA to train ancillary workers in schools, at JSIF’s headquarters, in Kingston, on March 7. Also sharing in the dialogue are (from left): General Manager of Technical Services at JSIF, Loy Malcolm, and JSIF Managing Director, Omar Sweeney.