Senator Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information has charged the new board of the HEART Trust/National Training Agency to provide training opportunities especially for marginalised groups.
Speaking on Wednesday at the first meeting of the Maxine Wilson-chaired board, Minister Reid advised the agency to give special focus to males from crime hot spots.He said there was need for an expansion of programmes for inter-city youth including apprenticeship and paramilitary training.This is to be implemented in collaboration with the Caribbean Maritime Institute, the Career Advancement Programme and the Youth Division of the ministry.
The Education Minster also advised the HEART Trust board to provide more social support for learners experiencing financial challenges by ensuring giving them a stipend to assist with the costs of attending training programmes.
In welcoming the new board members, Minister Reid pointed out that the HEART Trust/NTA must be seen as an integral part of the wider Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. In that regard, the agency must support theagenda of the ministry to mainstream technical education.This includes providing financial support to all institutions affiliated to the ministry that are offering technical education programmes.
All workers, the Education Minister noted, now required technical education, which must no longer be seen as second-class but as first-class in quality.He underscored the ministry’s policy that all students are required to graduate with a technical skill from high schools.
This, Minister Reid stated, was necessary to prepare the Jamaican work force to increase productivity levels and to take advantage of the millions of potential job openings in the local and regional economies within the next 10 years, as the post-World War II generation reach retirement age.
He pointed to job opportunities in the areas of Information Communication Technology, Logistics, Business Processing Outsourcing, Tourism and Animation. Noting that the HEART Trust/NTA has been providing training for more than 30 years, the Education Minister called on the agency to partner with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica to get accurate statistics about the state of the country’s trained workforce.
In his remarks to the new HEART Trust board, Minister Reid implored the agency to continue to be frugal and to meet all the standards of good management accountability. He expressed confidence that the new board wouldachieve the mandate presented to them.