July 16, 2013
Just under 1,000 Bahamians will be entered into the national training project pilot program come August, Minister of Labour and National Insurance Shane Gibson said last night at the official launch of the National Training Agency (NTA).
The launch was coupled with the opening of a state-of-the-art complex at Munnings and Gladstone Roads that will facilitate the training of thousands of Bahamians in the near future.
"I am pleased to announce that an estimated 990 trainees throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas, including Nassau, Freeport, Abaco and Exuma will participate in the first pilot program, which will begin in the first week of August and last for 10 weeks," Gibson told dozens of business leaders, politicians and civil society luminaries in attendance.
"Ongoing sessions thereafter will consequently lead to training, development and eventually apprenticeship, internship and job placement of thousands of industrious, hardworking Bahamians, thereby creating a seasoned and well-trained Bahamian work force, fully dedicated to service in excellence."
The government allocated $1 million to set up the agency and hopes to train between 2,000 and 2,500 people annually, according to officials.
The agency is expected to focus on raising literacy and numeracy skills and on competency-based training and job placement.
Other functions of the agency will be to provide a national certification framework; provide career counseling and guidance; provide competency-based statistics to government; provide a central registration unit and develop a tracking and monitoring system.
Former Member of Parliament Agatha Marcelle heads the agency.
In the 2012 Labour Force Survey the unemployment rate among young people ages 15 to 24 stood at 29.4 percent. The survey also showed that unemployment dropped 15.9 percent to 14.7 throughout the country.
Prime Minister Perry Christie, the keynote speaker, said the NTA will bring about tremendous growth and development in all spheres of national life in the country.
He said while that growth and development does not come without challenges, the government is committed to preparing the work force to meet the needs and shifting demands of a continuously evolving work place.
"When we wrote the Charter for Governance we spoke about a national training agency," Christie said. "When we went to Parliament with the Speech from the Throne we spoke about a national training agency.
"When we got in Parliament we said it is coming. The debate started. We know we have to pass the final passages and we will do that before we adjourn for the summer, and usher in legislatively the national training agency."
The prime minister appealed to major employers, including Baha Mar, which was represented by Robert ' Sandy' Sands, senior vice president of administration and external relations, to maintain their commitment to training and employing Bahamians.
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