HEART Trust get high marks

Jamaica Gleaner - - WESTERN FOCUS - Clau­dia Gard­ner As­sign­ment Co­or­di­na­tor

WHILE THE HEART Trust/Na­tional Train­ing Agency is one of the main state de­vel­op­ment agen­cies res­i­dents say is hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact in the re­gion, stake­hold­ers are nonethe­less call­ing for the scale-up of the agency’s itin­er­ant com­mu­ni­ty­based train­ing pro­grammes.

A statu­tory agency of the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, the HEART Trust/NTA was es­tab­lished in 1982 to fi­nance and co­or­di­nate train­ing pro­grammes aimed pri­mar­ily at cre­at­ing a com­pe­tent and com­pet­i­tive work­force, which is trained at in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised stan­dards.

One HEART grad­u­ate, now a sous chef, Gary Kerr, said the or­gan­i­sa­tion has done well in the past to pre­pare young peo­ple for the work­ing world, but con­tended that the agency should re­sume fullscale com­mu­nity-based train­ing and out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties, par­tic­u­larly in deep ru­ral ar­eas.

SCALE UP

“HEART has been good be­cause they have fa­cil­i­tated growth of the econ­omy in terms of pre­par­ing young peo­ple for em­ploy­ment. They used to have ex­ter­nal train­ing pro­grammes on a high scale in com­mu­nity cen­tres and churches in com­mu­ni­ties in the re­cent past, and I would like to see them scale that up. There needs to be com­mu­ni­ty­based train­ing where HEART takes the pro­grammes to the peo­ple in their vil­lages, for those who can­not nec­es­sar­ily make it to the cen­tral lo­ca­tions, like Ke­nil­worth for ex­am­ple,” Kerr said.

An­drew Bernard, a for­mer Ke­nil­worth HEART trainee, gave the agency top marks for help­ing young peo­ple to ad­vance on their ca­reer paths.

“HEART has been do­ing a good job to get young peo­ple trained. A lot of young­sters are work­ing es­pe­cially in the ho­tel sec­tor be­cause of the train­ing they have re­ceived from the agency,” Bernard said.

In the 2014 to 2015 fi­nan­cial year, HEART in­tro­duced a na­tional pro­gramme called ‘Op­por­tu­ni­ties for Un­der­served Youths” to im­prove em­ploy­ment fa­cil­i­ta­tion and widen train­ing ac­cess to un­der­served youth so as to boost their pro­duc­tive en­gage­ment. The agency also

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