The HEART Trust NTA is proud to be aligned to WorldSkills International in advancing technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Jamaica as an agent for workforce development. Jamaica is one of the seventy seven (77) countries that is a member of WorldSkills International and this provides the opportunity for international cooperation in the provision of quality TVET programmes thus promoting excellence in skill development. The goals of WorldSkills International which include advocacy for TVET, excellence through competitions, integrating standards in the education and training system, career building and research harmonize with the goals for TVET in Jamaica.
Our learners have benefited from participation in WorldSkills International competitions since 2005. This has provided exposure and built confidence in developing careers. Jamaica also participated in the inaugural WorldSkills Americas Competition in Brazil in March 2010 and achieved silver medals in Culinary Arts/Cooking and Hair Dressing in addition to medalling in the WorldSkills Americas Competition in Brazil. In October 2010 Jamaica became the first Caribbean nation to host WorldSkills International General Assembly and Youth Forum.
WorldSkills Jamaica has articulated three strategic goals for promoting excellence in TVET in Jamaica. These are:
1. Alignment of WorldSkills Jamaica to WorldSkills International standards for quality and relevance.
2. Establishment and maintenance of strong relationships with public and private sector entities and other stakeholders to promote skill development relevant to labour market demands.
3. Infusion of WorldSkills international standards into the education and training system.
These are the goals that will guide the WorldSkills Jamaica focus for the next three years.
The HEART Trust NTA, through its parent body, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is committed to the partnership with WorldSkills international and to ensuring that the integration of the international standards will advance TVET in Jamaica as an agent of workforce development.
WorldSkills International (WSI) represents more than 45 skills in over 75 Member countries and regions, all working together with youth, educators and industries to help “prepare the workforce and talent of today for the jobs of the future”.
WorldSkills International is to a great extent, responsible for creating the heightened awareness and consciousness Jamaicans are now experiencing as a result of the introduction of WorldSkills (WS) to this country by HEART Trust /NTA with Dr. Grace McLean serving as its first Technical Delegate, I superseded her when she dimitted office. Jamaica embraced the WorldSkills concept of being a global skills hub and when it hosted the General Assembly in 2010, making its mark on the international scene and redefining its position in valuing and promoting skills excellence and development.
As the Technical Delegate for WorldSkills, I represent Jamaica at the International and local levels as an ambassador for skills with a view to raise the profile and recognition of skilled people, and show the importance of skills in achieving economic growth and personal success. The experiences gained at the international and local levels have benefitted me personally and professionally; thus enabling me to conduct my duties from a more informed position.
WorldSkills Jamaica, like WorldSkills International is built on the tenets of competitions; however successful competitions are the outcomes of collaboration through research, promoting skills, education and training, international and industry relationships, knowledge exchange, development of skilled professionals and sustaining activities. Jamaica has attempted to engage at all levels, though not successful in all areas, we have managed to make creditable strides. The pride the competitors show in being selected to represent their country, meeting their counterparts from other continents and actually medaling in spite of language barrier and taking their places in society are testimonies to the impact that WorldSkills has on its target market.
One of WorldSkills Jamaica’s goals is to infuse the WorldSkills standards in our schools and educational institutions thus making them‘quality ready’for TVET integration and development in vocational, technological as well as service oriented careers locally.
It is our mission to enhance the ideals of WorldSkills competitions with a focus on local and WorldSkills Americas (WSA) competitions and sustaining relations with WorldSkills International. I will continue to be a part of the collective voice for skills excellence and development and policy development to redefine and enable networking and resources through varied outlets; thus influencing the agenda on skill empowerment as well as advocacy.