According to the Principal TVET Officer, Fitzroy Wilkin, the launch of the programme will take place in January, 2012, following the approval of a request by CARICOM for assistance in developing a more effective educational system in this regard.
Wilkin said the launch of the Caribbean Education for Employment Programme, (CEFE), in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, is to set in motion necessary transitions in the current traditional system, which focuses on supply with little consideration for the needs of the labour market.
He said the CEFE is a five year programme in which CARICOM governments will receive funding from the Canadian Government Development Agency (CIDA) geared at promoting economic development through strengthening TVET systems.
The programme seeks to integrate the resources, expertise and focus areas of a number of Caribbean and Canadian Agencies as well as those of the Governments, Non-Governmental Organizations, and private sector companies.
The lead Caribbean agencies in this venture are the CARICOM Secretariat; The Association of Caribbean National Training Agencies (CANTA), and the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Education (ACTE).
The existing role of CANTA and ACTE are to provide guidance to TVET programmes in the various territories and to promote a regional approach to enhance access, mobility and quality respectively. The role of CARICOM is to standardize TVET operational procedures within CARICOM member states.
Three components comprise the CEFE including: empowering the TVET councils to monitor their programmes and give certification; aligning training with the needs of the job-market and developing a quality labour market information system as well as strengthening the capacity of institutions to attract appropriate students and to deliver better skilled programmes.
In October a team of consultants from Canada met with local officials and stakeholders to identify priority areas in technical and vocational education in St. Kitts and Nevis. The Team comprised a CIDA representative, a technical consultant and a gender specialist.
Shortlisted for consideration were: Information and Communication Technology: hardware and software development; Agriculture: horticulture, value added processing; Construction: general, marine, yachting industry, furniture making; as well as Energy: renewable energy technicians.
In the field of Health: geriatrics, pediatrics; medical services; massage, cosmetology; Tourism: general hospitality, food and beverage; Culture and Industry: craft production and performing arts were identified.
Trades, considered a staple in TVET was identified for further development and Sports and Music management were new areas raised for consideration given the hike in music production and world class athletes of Kittitian and Nevisian nationality.
Although the listed areas that need development have been identified, it will have to be streamlined to meet the funding requirement. As such a National Committee which will be put in place to deal with all matters related to the CEFE programme will further discuss the shortlist and come up with the actual areas that will be chosen for development.