UNITED Kingdom-based vocational education provider City and Guilds is seeking a formal partnership with the HEART Trust/NTA to collaborate in providing education and training in Jamaica.
The not-for-profit organisation, which already has a two-year agreement with the Ministry of Education to provide English and mathematics examinations to 10,000 grade 11 students under the Caribbean Advancement Programme (CAP), is looking to deepen its relationship in the region.
"We are discussing formalising a relationship with HEART NTA on how the entities can collaborate and complement each other," Guy Hewitt, regional manager for City and Guilds told Career & Education on Tuesday.
Hewitt said City and Guilds was not in competition with other examination bodies, but was able to collaborate with the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) and other national training agencies in the Caribbean for the development of the region.
"It is to everybody's advantage to take a product that has been in the marketplace for a long time and is internationally recognised and make it available to students. We are operating in a global society and need to look at what is best for our students," he said.
City and Guilds representative in Jamaica Marva Duncanson said they are the only examination body in Jamaica offering qualifications in tourism and customer service at the secondary level.
She noted that City and Guilds provides "a staged approach to exams that gives students the option to enter exams at their competency levels".
There are four stages in mathematics and two in English under City and Guilds. Other subjects offered locally to about 4,000 learners by the exam body include engineering, construction, food preparation, health care, beauty therapy, hairdressing, information technology, business studies, bookkeeping, and accounting.
There are 40 approved centres in Jamaica for City and Guilds, as well as 70 CAP centres and 140 high school (grade 11) centres.
Last week, director-general of City and Guilds Chris Jones visited the island and a reception was held in his honour on Tuesday. Jones, in his remarks, said City and Guilds was committed to the Caribbean region as shown by the opening of its regional office in Barbados last year.
"We genuinely believe that this is an area we want to participate in, and be a very strong part of the education system here," he said at the function at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew.
Education minister Reverend Ronald Thwaites commended City and Guilds for elevating technical and vocational studies in Jamaica and certifying Jamaicans for the benefit of the country and the export market.