by Donella Hosten
The National Training Agency (NTA) held its first ever Skills Stakeholders Workshop on Tuesday, 14 November 2017 at the Radisson Hotel.
According to Kay Julien-Gutu, Communications Officer of the NTA, this one-day workshop serves as a stepping stone to bigger things, and it is a way to put information out there for stakeholders. “Today is just basically to get a feedback, to get a feeling from the stakeholders…” on the way forward and hopefully set up planning committees to chart the way forward.
The NTA is the sole body in Grenada responsible for overseeing technical and vocational training, and this move seeks to create interconnectivity among entrepreneurs. Not only does the NTA provide the certification for skills based on assessment and competence, but, they also work with the persons who do the training sessions, and they sometimes provide institutionalised training. Some of the skills training offered include boat-making, livestock and poultry production, furniture making, and construction.
Every 2 years, World Skills International brings young people from around the world together to compete against each other in various skilled areas. Tuesday’s event came as a result of Grenada’s interest in being part of this international event. “We feel in Grenada, that we could have our own local competition… as well as to give Grenada exposure,” Julien-Gutu said.
Marcia Rowe-Amonde, Senior Director of TVET Development for Support Systems at the HEART Trust NTA, was the featured speaker at NTA’s event on Tuesday. She noted that World Skills International focuses on skills and skills development in specific countries. Her sessions during the workshop covered topics such as the engagement of the industries and getting students to see skills as important to their overall development.
Jamaica has participated in World Skills International competitions and has been a member since 2002. Speaking of Jamaica’s involvement with the World Skills International, Rowe-Amonde said Jamaica had hosted some local competitions where different institutions have taken part. They have also had a youth forum.
Rowe-Amonde reiterated the importance of non-traditional skills, stating that, “many of our young people, and many older people, have grown up focusing on being a doctor, or lawyer or nurse or a teacher.” However, “we want to say that there are other careers, other professions in the new and emerging areas that they need to begin to think about and to embrace.” She used the examples of careers in renewable energy, animation, cyber-security, mechatronics, information and communication technology, many areas in which persons involved can become entrepreneurs. “We need to begin to prepare our young people to take on a global world.,” said Rowe-Amonde. She said it is important to learn the new skills needed to be embraced and to ‘learn how to learn’ as the knowledge is changing fast.