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T&T facing skills shortage

Published: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Labour Minister:

There is critical need for certain hands-on skills in T&T. For example, there are not enough licensed embalmers, so Government has no choice but to grant work permits in this area, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus revealed yesterday.

In her address at a National Training Agency (NTA) —Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Convention at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, the minister said the agency has a critical role to play in mapping new skills.

“When issuing work permits for non-nationals to enter into our country, I have noted the new job classifications that have arisen. The NTA’s role will become crucial in the development of those persons who fit these skills,” Baptiste-Primus said.

She said in light of new and emerging trends, Government has articulated a number of goals in the National Development Strategy for reduced unemployment, decent work and promotion of competitive businesses through innovation and entrepreneurship.

Baptiste-Primus said there is need for more up-to-date and ‘real time’ information on current and future skills trends for TVET to be more relevant.

Yesterday, this country joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Day Against Child Labour which is observed annually on June 12. This year’s theme is Generation Safe and Healthy.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that 152 million children aged five to 17 around the world are in child labour, with 73 million performing work that is considered hazardous.

“We all have a part to play in ensuring that our children are protected from the harmful effects of child labour which in most instances are attributed to situations of poverty.

“It is said that the best route out of poverty is through decent work and the best route to decent work is through quality education that meets the needs of the labour market. I hope we are seeing the connections between this convention and the efforts we are making to promote decent work in T&T,” Baptiste-Primus said.

Minister in the Education Ministry Dr Lovell Francis said for far too long not enough importance has been placed on TVET, while preferred fields of education are saturated.

Making reference to his home town of Morgua, Francis some of his friends who had to face the world of work from an early age achieved great success via skills training, as jobs such as welding and rigging are much sought after.

“The people in my constituency cannot find joiners. We have to import joiners from all over the Caribbean to do the job right here,” Francis said.

He appealed for the conference not to become a talk shop but something more meaningful where actual policy can be developed and implemented.

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