HEART Trust/NTA launches sector skills council with business leaders

HEART Trust/NTA launches sector skills council with business leaders

Friday, February 15, 2019

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THE HEART Trust/NTA on Wednesday officially launched the Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), an independent, employer-led committee designed to analyse and address skills development, within key sectors of the economy. The launch took place at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

The council comprises employers from nine major sectors: agriculture, information and communication technology (ICT), creative industries, services, construction, manufacturing, tourism and hospitality, energy/renewable, and logistics.

“The health of any developing economy is largely measured by the array of skill sets of its people and as the human capital development agency, we have to take the leading role in providing those skills by enhancing workforce development,” said Arden Grant, acting senior director, workforce development. She was representing Dr Janet Dyer, managing director of the HEART Trust/NTA.

One of the main objectives of the SSCs is to develop strategies to alleviate the imbalances between skills supply and demand, as employers seek to recruit job-ready candidates who possess the requisite skills.

The council will also provide feedback, from its members, regarding the performance of skilled workers at various levels.

“Employers and investors are not interested in excuses or promises. They want tangible and real results — people with the ready skills, including soft skills, to hit the ground running,” said Ms Grant. “This council will allow both HEART and industry personnel to analyse the training needs of our people, especially our youths, to develop training packages and to make decisions on workforce training and development.”

Through the council, members will provide leadership and strategic advice to the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system on skills, based on research to inform policy-making decisions.

The launch received high commendation from Dr Andrew Spencer, executive director of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), who noted that the tourism industry stands to benefit immensely from the training of more highly skilled workers.

“We are certainly proud of the growth in our industry. By 2021, we are looking to have 125,000 persons working in the industry but right now, we have a 116, 000 currently employed and many of them do not have any certification. So what this does is provide more opportunities for certification,” said Dr Spencer.

Meanwhile, Nicole Manning, senior director of the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) called on more employers to provide apprenticeship programmes.

“Apprenticeship is a key area for the development of permanent employment. It is something that is tried and proven in many countries and this will be one of the key deliverables of the SSCs. Through apprenticeship, we can guarantee that our trainees will gain valuable experience in their area even if they are not employed,” said Manning.

Recently, the trust signed an agreement with the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association to provide more apprenticeship programmes for trainees in the manufacturing sector.

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