Individuals are again being encouraged to pursue technical and vocational skills training and infuse these into their academic qualifications.
Additionally, workers with specialist skills who are uncertified, are being urged to formalise their expertise by pursuing certification through the HEART/NSTA Trust.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Audrey Sewell, who previously served as Director of Academies at HEART, although her training was in secondary education, she also pursued technical and vocational studies.
“It broadened my horizons and helped me when I went to HEART, because I had the technical grounding. Persons should, in some way, do some form of technical and vocational training. Even if you don’t pursue it as a career, it is good to have [those] skills,” she told JIS News.
Mrs Sewell, who initially served as a Technical Assistant at HEART before being promoted to several senior positions, said certification affirms the competencies of trained persons.
“It is what you use to market yourself and, globally, it helps you more in a competitive marketplace,” she added.
Noting that there is a significant number of persons who are “technically sound, but don’t have any certification”, Mrs Sewell said one of the things HEART does, is take individuals through a process, pointing out that “they don’t have to go into a classroom.”
“They look at their profiles, work with the individuals and certify them. The certification gives you an edge,” she pointed out.
The senior civil servant, who is also Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), further indicated that doctors and many other professionals had their early training and certification at HEART.
Meanwhile, she described her tenure at the agency as “20 glorious years for me”, pointing out that “I was very passionate about what I was doing because I believed in it, and I put my heart into it.”
“It was a joy to have served there. That was 20 years where God gave me the opportunity to serve my country, and to serve individuals in a positive way,” Mrs. Sewell said.
The Human Employment and Resource Training /National Service Training Agency Trust (HEART/NSTA Trust), known to most Jamaicans simply as ‘HEART’, is Jamaica’s leading human capital development agency.
For over three decades, the entity has been the largest provider of Technical Vocational Education and Training in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
It has focused on practical, competency-based training which empowers trainees to transition seamlessly into real workplace scenarios.