$32m to train 300 youngsters

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Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon. FILE PHOTO –

GOVERNMENT has committed $32 million to train 300 youngsters in tech/vocational skills to boost the local non-energy sector.

This was confirmed by Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon as she addressed the post-Cabinet press briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s on Thursday. Participants, who must be 17-25, will each receive a $3,000 monthly stipend, she said.

This will be paid fully by the Government in a trainee’s first year, 75 per cent by government and 25 per cent by industry in his/her second year, and 50-50 in the third year.

Gopee-Scoon said the training will help TT into the fourth industrial revolution, post-pandemic.

She said the course prerequisites were a national craftsman certificate or three CXC (CSEC) or GCE passes.

The stipend was given, she said, as it was a full time course and it might be needed to compensate individuals leaving existing paid employment to train.

“We expect to launch in a month,” she said, saying this timeline could stretch to up to two months.

Gopee-Scoon welcomed the initiative by stressing that increased production was the cure to global inflation.

She said that based on the Roadmap for TT, in 2020 the National Training Agency (NTA) had set up a Manufacturing Sector Advisory Committee (SAC) which in turn in 2021 birthed a Working Sub-committee.

The MIC-IT was required to develop a hybrid National Skills Development Programme (NSDP) for the manufacturing sector, but based on the MIC-IT’s existing NSDP-Journeyman Programme.

She said the NDSP programme is a Level III Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) programme, accredited by the Accreditation Council of TT and by the German Chamber of Crafts and Trades. The programme was informed by two labour market surveys – Labour Market Demands Survey (2019) and Labour Market Skills Gap (2021).

Asked by Newsday about a 2020 report by the Joint Select Committee on State Enterprises which linked a 50 per cent drop in state funding of the MIC to a drop in enrolment from 5,705 to 1,875 trainees, Gopee-Scoon said the journeyman programme had a high attrition rate and so a stipend was needed.

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