Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid welcomes Professor Roberto Spada, External Affairs Director of the National Service for Industrial Training (SENAI) in Brazil to a special reception held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday (February 19). The reception was part of the activities to mark National Careers Week and Skills Competition from February 17-23. Looking on is Edward Gabbidon, Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA and Jennifer McDonald (in the background), CEO of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica.
Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA Edward Gabbidon (left) welcomes Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid to a special reception for officials of WorldSkills International at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on Monday (February 19). The reception was part of the activities to mark National Careers Week and Skills Competition from February 17-23. Looking on is Dr Janet Dyer, Managing Director of the HEART Trust/NTA.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Minister of Education, Youth and Information (MoEYI), Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid last night (February 19), welcomed regional and global officials who are in Jamaica to participate in the National Careers’ Week and Skills Competition, being staged by WorldSkills Jamaica, a member of WorldSkills International.
The international delegation was led by Professor Roberto Spada, External Affairs Director of the National Service for Industrial Training (SENAI) in Brazil. Delegates were also present from Barbados and Grenada.
Minister Reid, who hosted the welcome reception at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, said he was committed to Jamaica staging the National Skills Competition biennially in order for the youth of Jamaica to remain on the cutting edge of technology and to stay on par with emerging global trends.
“Jamaica must never be left behind in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) because most of the global jobs now demand the highest level of competence in vocational skills. We need to embrace this international trend and realize that TVET is the foundation to drive economic growth and youth development,” noted Minister Reid.
The Minister also challenged the HEART Trust/NTA to be relentless in its training and certification programmes and to continue to partner with the Ministry to further embed the TVET culture in schools across the country.
“HEART must also strengthen its on-the-job certification programmes to capture the many Jamaicans who have been engaged in various skill areas for many years without the correspondent certification. We must have all hands on deck to build this country,” said Mr. Reid.
The Minister said he was encouraged by recent data which showed a 25% reduction in youth unemployment and an increase in the number of jobs in the workforce. He expressed optimism that the rate of unemployment in Jamaica will faller to historic lows with the new levels of investment in sectors such as Energy & Mining, Business Processing Outsourcing and Hospitality, among others.
In his remarks, Professor Roberto Spada, said the development of a TVET culture in Jamaica, would not only empower the youth to gain employment but will advance a period of social transformation. Mr. Spada said WorldSkills International has been impressed with Jamaica’s commitment to the growth of TVET as a game changer in the quest for economic growth.
The HRART Trust/NTA is partnering with the MoEYI, WorldSkills Jamaica, the Career Advancement Programme and Junior Achievement Jamaica to stage the National Careers’ Week and Skills Competition between February 18-23, 2018. These activities received ringing endorsements from key private sector stakeholders at the Minister’s welcome reception on Monday.
Chief Executive Officer of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOK), Jennifer McDonald said her organization was ready to deepen its relationship and partnership with the Trust. She said the youth-centred approach of the Trust was admirable and expressed confidence that the investments being made in instilling a TVET culture in the youth would pay big dividends for the country in the medium and long term. The PSOJ executive said the National Skills Competition was the perfect forum for Jamaican youth to showcase their skills to the world.
Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF) Brenda Cuthbert said the “work-ready” focus of the training and certification programmes of HEART is essential to growth. Mrs. Cuthbert said a carefully crafted strategic and futuristic approach was needed so that the youth of today can make the difference tomorrow.
The JEF CEO said the National Careers Week and Skills Competition was in keeping with the nation’s 2030 vision to make Jamaica the ideal place to live, work, raise families and do business.
Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Edward Gabbidon, expressed great excitement about the staging of this week’s activities, noting that it was a critical component of the Trust’s management to get the young people of Jamaica into productive activities that lead to employment and entrepreneurship.
“HEART is building for Jamaica a TVET system that is flexible and responsive to the needs of the labour market, where our young people can turn to with confidence for training and certification,” said Mr. Gabbidon.
The two-day National Skills Competition will be held at the National Arena on February 20-22 and will showcase the abundant reservoir of talent, creativity and competence of Jamaican youth as part of a skilled workforce, driving the growth of the Jamaican economy.
Additionally, today (Tuesday, February 20), there will be a Schools’ Career Expo, Youth Leaders’ Summit and Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel; whilst tomorrow (Wednesday February 21), a Jamaica Money Biz Tour will also be a part of the activities, providing participants with budgeting and financing tips.
An entrepreneurial expo and competition will highlight the events on Thursday February 22, which will also include poster and try-a-skill competitions. The National Careers’ Week and Skills Competition will climax on Friday February 23 with the MoEYI’s Jamaica Day in schools. One of the special activities will be students in grades 7 to 9 being invited to participate in structured activities in several companies across the island, including being Manager for a day.