It has been established internationally that the historical stigma associated with TECHVOC Education and Training has been, and continues to be,
best addressed by the empowerment phenomena. This is the informed deduction of Chairman for the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training [CTVET], Mr. Clinton Williams.
Williams’ remarks were forthcoming recently at a ceremony to hand over Caribbean Vocation Qualifications [CVQ] certificates to several recipients. “I am elated to present the Heads of Institutions with CVQ Certificates for the first set of graduates to be awarded these certificates since the CTVET has been accredited to award same. In addition, I wish to extend congratulations to the graduates for their steadfastness and commitment in the pursuance of the certification process associated with this particular award. This ceremony should motivate other Post-Secondary Institutions, both private and public, to implement the training process for CVQ Certification,” Williams stressed at the ceremony.
The CVQ was implemented by the Caribbean Association of National Training Authorities (CANTA) with the approval of Caricom with the objective of ensuring the realization of one of the main pillars of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy [CSME] – the free movement of skills among the countries of the Region – thus facilitating cross border trade in technical skills. According to Williams, “this obviously means that with accreditation our graduates will be able to ply their trades within the Caribbean and elsewhere without restrictions.”
The CVQ is a significant development in terms of its importance as a recognized quality and reliability standard for TECHVOC Skills. Moreover, Williams asserted, “Let me begin by publicly recognizing the herculean contribution of the Director and Staff of CTVET not only for their selfless efforts to ensure the successful completion of the demanding Verification Audit by CANTA, which preceded our accreditation, but also for pioneering the conceptualization and development of the standards.”
Among areas for which standards were developed are: Banking Operations Level 1; Heavy Equipment Maintenance and Repair Level 1; and Automotive Electrical and Electronics Maintenance and Repair Level 1.
These Standards have since been adopted by CANTA and are being utilized as Regional Occupational Standards not only in the Manufacturing, Engineering and Construction Sectors, but in the Services Sector as well, which is increasing its importance in terms of contribution to both the local and regional economy. But according to Williams, a prerequisite for such an accreditation is not only a Comprehensive Audit by CANTA, but also approval by the Council for Human and Social Development [COSHOD] that the particular territory has indeed satisfied the stipulated conditions in order to be accredited to implement such certification.
While most of the Caricom Countries have signalled their intention to be accredited in order to award CVQs to graduates of their TVET Systems, only seven have been approved with the authority to issue CVQs. These countries are: Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Guyana, the latter two have already been subjected to Verification Audits for the implementation and use of the Quality Assurance Criteria and Guidelines since November 2015.
The CVQ, according to Williams, should be viewed as both a regional and internationally-accredited certificate which all local training providers in Guyana should strive for, by registering with the CTVET and upgrading their curriculum, human resource and facilities to the prescribed internationally acceptable standards.
He however asserted that “Technical and Vocational Education and Training does not come cheap. This means that at the national level we need to devise some policy framework for the funding of this type of education and training. It is logical that such a system must of necessity include realistic and pertinent incentives to motivate our local private sector to be more meaningfully involved in the training cycle.”
It was with this in mind that Williams anxiously reported that with funding secured from the Caribbean Development Bank, a comprehensive study on the feasible mechanisms that can be utilized to fund TVET within the foreseeable future was recently completed. Under the same facility, the Council has also completed a Public Relations Strategy which will be utilized not only to promote greater visibility of TECHVOC Education in general, but to encourage greater focus by motivating females and persons with disabilities to pursue training courses in TVET particularly in the non-traditional skills area.
“In this context, we shall soon convene a comprehensive strategic review of TVET with all stakeholders in order to chart a way forward for an Overall National Programme for TVET in Guyana,” Williams informed.
According to Williams, the empowerment attribute of TECHVOC has been buoyed by the inclusion of entrepreneurship training as an integral part of the special skill programmes being delivered to the workforce in a number of countries.
Williams, moreover added, “It would be remiss of me if I do not recognize the immense challenge we face in creating and fostering an environment that will allow for increased appreciation of the importance of TVET as a vital ingredient in the increased productivity, and by extension, international competitiveness and concomitantly increased economic development of our country.”
It is for this reason, he noted, that implied in the Vision and Mission respectively are “Education for Employment” and “The Conceptualization Coordination and/or Delivery of Modular Competency-based Education and Training in order to create and/or sustain a workforce that is accredited to be internationally competitive.”
As such, Williams in his presentation at the ceremony said, “We have long recognized that in Guyana there exist significant gaps between the Occupational Skill demand by both the Private Sector and the Public Sector, and the occupational skills being supplied by the formal and non-formal training institutions.” This phenomenon, he added, is occasioned by factors such as migration, poaching, new technology and more recently, by new emerging sectors such as ICT, Oil and Gas, Eco Tourism, etc. In this context, he noted efforts were made to complete a Labour Market Intelligence Survey through collaboration with the then Ministry of Labour now Ministry of Social Protection with funding from the IDB.
Another such survey was also done for the Mining Sector as a prerequisite to the establishment of the Guyana Mining School with funding from Canada under the recently concluded Caricom Education For Employment Project.
One of the main objectives of the Labour Market Intelligence Survey (LMIS), apart from determination of skill demand for the various sub sectors, was to inventorize all potential supply sources with respect to facilities and facilitators, particularly within those private sector companies that have been engaged in in-plant training over the years