The first round of Parkland College’s international development partnership in Jamaica is underway. The College is working with HEART Trust – the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust, National Training Agency – to create Essential Skills programming to train unemployed Jamaican youth.
Parkland College was selected to partner with HEART Trust last fall as part of a Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) program in the Caribbean. This two-year partnership will develop Essential Skills and pre-technology training in key sectors of the Jamaican economy. It aims to prepare 500 students under the age of 30 for employment.
College representatives travelled to Jamaica in August to conduct workshops and train staff for the start of the Youth Skills Development program. Train-the-trainer sessions were delivered on Essential Skills, counselling techniques, instructional strategies, employability skills, environmental sustainability, and gender equality.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work from many College support staff and trainers to get to this point, but reaching this stage is a great achievement for the College and the students in Jamaica,” said Kami DePape, Director of Academics and Student Services at Parkland College. “We’re honoured to share our expertise with our partners at HEART Trust and provide guidance to help build a successful program.”
The workshops were particularly effective for participants in the train-the-trainer sessions, such as Canute White, Director of Safety and Behavioural Management at Excelsior Community College in Kingston, Jamaica.
“It has provided tools for the betterment of a nation as we carry the knowledge to others in our institutions,” White said. “Parkland College seems to have mastered the art of the craft. I am among those who are now willing and able to not only impart what we have learned but play our part in the field.”
Employers in the Caribbean often have difficulty attracting and retaining skilled, adaptable, and flexible workers, which they attribute to a lack of workforce preparedness, basic skills, and an understanding of expected workplace behaviour. This hinders economic development in the region.
HEART Trust’s mandate is to provide Jamaica with a highly-trained and certified workforce. Projects like this seek to give disadvantaged youth new opportunities for employment.
Since its inception in 1973, Parkland College has worked to expand the philosophy of life-long learning in East Central Saskatchewan. Among the seven basic principles upon which the community college system was founded is the idea that programs are to be developed in response to the needs of the community. Today, Parkland College offers a broad spectrum of educational services from trades training and high school upgrading to the province’s most diverse off-campus university offerings.
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