Lady Allen and I thank you for your warm welcome. As you may be aware, the role of Governor-General is executed under three components: Constitutional, Ceremonial and Community. The Constitutional and Ceremonial duties command significant attention, but I always welcome the opportunity that the Community functions afford me to engage Jamaicans from all walks of life and to interact with them in their own space.
Every year my calendar includes a corporate or an educational institutional visit where we speak to citizens involved in the productive sectors, teaching and learning process or other areas of Jamaican life, just to encourage and affirm them to make the best of the opportunities to work or study or portray themselves in ways that will help our country to grow and develop.
Importance of TVET
There is evidence all around us that we are living in an era of Knowledge, Information and Communication; an era where Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technical Vocational Education and Training are influencing all, if not most areas of our lives. The options for education and training must therefore set the stage for the creation of an advanced, technical workforce that is equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that are needed for Jamaica to realize its goals in this new era.
It is within the context of this shifting global paradigm that the I Believe Initiative (IBI) is giving special consideration to activities related to family, youth and education, as the avenue through which our young people can use their God-given potential to unlock their creativity and productivity. Through a values-based programme of activities, the encouragement of a spirit of volunteerism and a focus on effective parenting, the IBI provides a platform on which young people can define the type of individual they want to become so they can have a positive self-concept to hold onto, to execute their obtained professional interests.
Through the IBI we want our young people to realize that:
•Their lives are interconnected with the future of Jamaica.
•They are relevant to Jamaica’s future as it is in the tomorrow of today, that they will spend the rest of their lives.
•They must be engaged and encouraged to become fully immersed in a culture of advancing national and social development.
•They must believe in themselves and not be defined by or held captive to debilitating or negative circumstances, but access the pathways available to emancipate themselves and tap into a world of opportunities outside of their captive environment.
•This morning I was very pleased to see the headline in one of the morning papers, of the eight young persons selected for entrepreneurial training in the USA. I recognized at least one of them, Ms. Tishuana Mullings as one of our outstanding I Believe Ambassadors who is making a difference and mentoring young people in her community in St Thomas.
Word to students
As students being exposed to first-world vocational training, you are not here to obtain training for yourselves alone. The effect of your training will only be reflected in national development and economic growth, if you intentionally play your part by applying it to productive ends and show that you can do for your country what it has provided and done for you.
Whatever you do, the end result must have a lasting impression on society. Go out and make your country great and show that you made the best of your opportunities having received exposure to first world training. To do so you must first to have an appetite for success. Success is the reward for hard work and requires that you go the extra mile. The extra mile is often a lonely journey but take it anyway.
As you train to be the difference you want to see, you must under-gird yourself and develop good work ethics such as punctuality, dependability, resourcefulness, good manners and consideration for your colleagues. These are values that will give you sustenance, help you to improve your organizations and vault you to the top of your career.
I applaud the management and staff of the HEART Trust/National Training Agency and JAGAS in particular for their contribution to national development. The Federal Republic of Germany – its government and people through your Embassy here in Jamaica, for your support in aiding our country’s development in this critical sector.
The successful completion of your training will enable Jamaica to create a workforce that is equipped, qualified, and certified to international standards.
I also commend the HEART Trust for the introduction of two mobile training labs one of which will be commissioned today and for your fixity of purpose in equipping our young people with skills to make their lives purposeful and successful.
This boost in your resources should make greater inroads in workforce development through the delivery of higher levels and improved quality TVET programmes to other areas of the country. Making technical and vocational cutting edge training available to both urban and rural youth.
It is only natural then that we should look forward to your cutting-edge contribution in the ensuing years as we secure our independence, and guarantee our development.
I thank you.