Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has highlighted the importance of vocational and skills training in developing self-sufficient and independent Jamaicans, who are equipped with the necessary competencies to contribute significantly to nation building.
Sir Patrick, who was speaking on Tuesday (October 5) at the official opening of the Worldskills Jamaica National Skills Competition and Worldskills General Assembly at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, said skills training will make young people “masters and not slaves of labour”.
“In educating our youth, we should seek to give them the training that will make them self-sustaining,” he added.
The Governor-General noted that while practical labour and vocational skills are often looked on unfavourably because it is felt that they are undertaken out of necessity and not choice, the fact is that “working with one’s hand can be an enriching and rewarding experience.”
He said that many traditional jobs are disappearing and are being replaced by new skills ushered in by innovations in information communication technology.
Skills training, he said, ensures that workers get connected and stay connected to the job market, and are easily re-integrated when economic activity is restored.
Sir Patrick told the delegates that as they discuss various aspects of technical and vocational education training during this year’s assembly and examine the implications for sustainable development, they must not forget the important call that is being made for them to contribute to the process of nation building.
“Our countries will not be in a position to provide for its people, safeguard its physical heritage and generate its own wealth, if its youth are not empowered to be leaders of this process,” he argued.
The Worldskills General Assembly is being held at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel from October 3 to 10 and over the eight days, official and technical delegates representing the organisation’s highest decision making group from 53 member countries will meet to review the state of international technical vocational skills, and to hold a landmark leadership election.
The delegates, who are influential members from the public and private sectors in their respective countries, will meet with local business, academic and government leaders during their stay on the island.
During the meetings, the assembly will be given the task of approving the creation of a World Skills Foundation that will be responsible for advocacy to advance the World Skills cause globally.
Jamaica, which was the first Caribbean country to join World Skills International in 2004, is the first country in the region to host the General Assembly, having edged Singapore for the bid with 27 to 19 votes.
The two-day World Skills Jamaica competition got underway today (Oct. 6) at the University of Technology campus, with 350 entrants and 160 coaches vying to represent Jamaica at the biennial WorldSkills International Competition in London in October 2011.
The events are being hosted by the Ministry of Education through the HEART Trust/NTA.