Nevis TVET Officer – Fitzroy Wilkin
June 03, 2014
The construction of a multi-purpose building for the delivery of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), was high on the agenda of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) officials who met with Premier of Nevis and Minister of Education and other Education officials at Government Headquarters, Bath Plain, on May 28, 2014.
Operations Officer (Education) Dr. Martin Baptiste who was accompanied by Operations Officer (Civil Engineering) Stephen Lawrence, spoke to the assistance given by the Bank through its assistance programme.
“In 2011 the Bank approved a Country Strategy Paper which set out the assistance programme for St. Kitts and Nevis from 2011 to 2015. The strategy, of course, culminates next year and when we had discussions with St. Kitts and Nevis just about four years ago, what was identified as an area where, for the education sector, we need to provide support is in the area of TVET and Early Childhood Development ECD. Those two areas would really follow through our support that we have given to St. Kitts and Nevis.
“As you know, Premier, we have supported the Basic Needs [Trust] Fund projects, through which the St. John’s Primary and the Charlestown Secondary were rebuilt and rehabilitated and we also concluded last year the Child Development Project in St. Kitts and Nevis which led to the New Horizon Centre in St. Kitts and also some other support to see how the Federation can deal with youth at risk and to see how they can support them,” he said.
Dr. Baptiste noted that the Bank was pleased to know that work in a project for the construction of a multi-purpose Technical Vocational Education and Training [TVET] centre for Nevis could advance in earnest.
“We are very gratified to learn that we can now proceed to look at appraising this project which we hope to present to our Board of Directors in December this year. It may sound like a very long time but we want to have enough time so we could put together a project”¦We certainly would not want to design a project which is outside of a coherent framework in supporting both St. Kitts and Nevis.
“In the case of Nevis, and of course we understand our obligation to make sure that we address the skills needs in both St. Kitts and Nevis, we have been advised and through our discussions today we will in a sense almost finalise a general sense as to what you want us to do. We know that the multi-purpose centre is one area that you are looking for support,” he explained.
This mission really involves just two of us civil engineer and education specialist but we are going to be fielding a full appraisal mission involving about six or seven persons by August/September which would involve a social analyst, an environmental specialist, an analyst, so that we really come and by then, the details of the project would be fairly well understood and so we can really put together a good document.
According to Dr. Baptiste, the mission’s task in Nevis was to get a general sense of the scope of the project for presentation to the CDB Board by the end of 2014.
“Our task here is really a pre-appraisal; just to come, have discussions…and from this mission we hope to identify, in a general sense, what are the areas that we are likely to support. We want to identify what our information needs that you would provide us over the next two to three months we would receive information. So when we mount our appraisal mission in the next month, two months or so, we would be well prepared both your team and us in terms of really putting the project together.
“As far as information needs go and what our requirements are to appraise the project, once we are doing civil works, ideally we would want to have final architectural designs. If final designs are available, fabulous, but if not, we want to make sure that the designs are at a stage that would allow us to have a sense as to what the cost estimates are. We would also need to get a list and cost estimates for equipment and tools. So that’s the kind of thing we would want to get as well as to look at general data on the education sector,” he said.
Orette Smith TVET Coordinator in the Ministry of Education on Nevis gave an overview of the project’s progressfor the proposed building that would house TVET activities.
“What we are looking at is the possibility that the multi-purpose centre, there are two main blocks. One of the blocks is a two-storey building. The other block is a single floor so we are looking at the possibility of converting that single floor into a two floor to accommodate for more space to include other areas that are not currently being offered there but would be critical as we look at what we call a demand-driven programme.
“The preliminaries have not yet started but we have been looking at it and we are going to see if we can begin the process in terms of getting a sketch and organise to get the architectural drawing done,” he said.
Mr. Lawrence in his comments spoke of the infrastructural work.
“With respect to the designs and costing, we are hoping to go to the Board by December We would ideally like you to commit to carrying through the process to the point where you would almost have the documents as something that could go to tender”.
“If that’s not possible within the time frame, we still need a fairly accurate representation of the cost and drawings that I can review because these are things we present in our appraisals that goes to the Board and it has to have some groundingÃ¢â‚¬¦I am here to get a sense of what you want to do, how it will work, just to be more familiar so that when we are actually appraising we are on common ground and understand each other,” he said.
Principal Technical and Vocational Education and Training Officer in the Federal Ministry of Education Fritzroy Wilkin who accompanied the CDB delegation spoke to the Federation’s emphasis on the development of technical and vocational education.
“We recognise that it is important for us to develop the requisite skills to be able to move within the Caribbean Single Market Economy [CSME] initiative and also to compete on a global market.
“We have been undertaking a number of initiatives, one of which was our most recent initiative, the ratification and passing of our TVET policy and we are now looking at how we can build capacity both in terms of the human resource capacity, the physical infrastructure in order to ensure that we offer the relevant skills to suit this era in terms of moving forward,” he said.
Wilkin noted that there was an opportunity in which St. Kitts and Nevis could benefit from the CDB and the World Bank.
“There is a window of opportunity where St. Kitts Nevis stands to benefit from CDB and there is also another window of opportunity that is coming shortly with the World Bank but our colleagues from CDB, they are here because when we initiated discussions with them, we identified quite a number of projects that we have in the pipeline in St. Kitts and Nevis and we are looking at what projects can we put forward which we believe we can get benefits from CDB,” he said.
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TVET As Solution To Skills Gap
Further Education must train technicians required by industry, urges
The further education sector must â€œstep upâ€ and play a bigger role in training the next generation of engineers and technicians to address a national shortage.
The Construction Industry needs students graduate in the TVET subjects each year and the majority do not have the skills that employers require.
There was a â€œserious needâ€ to train as many people as possible, particularly in higher-level skills, to replace an ageing workforce and meet employersâ€™ needs. The FE sector alone does not have the potential to solve the problem without capitol injection.
Further Education has a critical role to play in securing the next generation of engineers and technicians. This is absolutely vital and canâ€™t be understated. The Adult Higher Education sector capacity to expand, wonâ€™t see any major expansion in the HE sector, so the TVET sector must step up and play a much bigger role.
FE colleges were ideally placed to help because of their knowledge of local skills needs and existing relationships with employers. Businesses also preferred work-ready. The real key, the jewel in the TVET sector, is that employer engagement.
However, TVET needs to build a much deeper engagement with employers, changing the curriculum to meet their needs and bringing practising engineers into classrooms to deliver some of the teaching. They can bring real-life context to young people as well as identifying potential future employees.
â€œThereâ€™s also potential for a reciprocal arrangement, where small and medium employers can make use of the specialist equipment that colleges have.â€
The TVET marketing strategy could also help students and their parents to get a better understanding of TVET and dispel out-of-date perceptions about it being only for dropouts .
TVET must carry out a audit of the colleges to assess the needs of engineering departments and to find out what facilities are available. It also appreciates the need for more Continued Professional Development for Further Education teachers to get them up to speed with the latest engineering developments, processes and materials, and is looking at what it can do to help.
The Ministry of Education agreed that colleges had a crucial role to play, but there is a need to invest heavily in new facilities in response to local skills needs. TVET need to work with employers and college to ensure the needs of industry are reflected in the training and development of young people and adults in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects.
TVET must gain the support for action by engineering employers, workers and educators as well as government to implement the following recommendations, and how to develop engineering skills.
Government must provide TVET with grant funding of 9 million in 2014-17 to support TVET its work to raise Education Teaching Standards across Further Education, including through closer engagement of business. The need for an estimated 471 million in capital grant funding to enable TVET to invest in modern facilities.
1. Government should invite employers to put forward
innovative proposals to develop engineering skills in sectors
suffering acute skills shortages.
2. Government should support TVET
extend and develop their fellowship model to support people
returning to professional.
3. TVET and the engineering community, including all the professional
engineering institutions in the Federation, should join in partnership with
Tomorrowâ€™s Engineers, to agree effective core messages
about engineering and cooperate to disseminate these
messages to young people.
4. The Ministry of Education must provide funding to develop
Tomorrowâ€™s Engineers employer engagement programme and help schools and colleges
connect with employers.
5. The Ministry of Education must run a High profile campaign reaching out to young people,
particularly girls and boys aged 11-14 years, with inspirational
messages about engineering and diverse role models,
to inspire them to become â€œTomorrowâ€™s Engineersâ€.
The engineering community should take this forward as
an annual event.
6. The school Curriculum must ensure that science an integral part
during consultation on revisions to A-level physics
to ensure that the new A-levels will provide a sound
foundation to progress to degree-level study in engineering.
7. The Ministry of Education must continue to support schools to increase
progression to A-level physics, especially among
8. The Ministry of Education should focus on teacher recruitment to
shortage subjects and also promote physics with maths to
schools involved in teacher training.
9. TVET and the engineering community must provide continuing
professional development for teachers, giving them
experience of working in industry to put their academic
teaching in practical context and enabling them to inspire
and inform their students about engineering.
10. TVET and the engineering community should work with the
The Ministry of Education to develop and promote new Level 2 and 3
qualifications that will create high quality vocational routes
for 16-19 year olds to enter engineering careers.
11. The Ministry of Education and TVET must work with employers to
encourage and support provision of work experience for
post-16 students studying in colleges and schools.
12. TVET and the engineering community, especially employers, should
work with The Ministry of Education to develop additional Trailblazer
Apprenticeships in engineering.
13. The Ministry of Education should develop plans to boost diversity of
TVET apprentices, building on the pilots and research
commissioned by the SIDF Funding Agency.
14. The Ministry of Education should build on the TVET experience and seek
to develop elite vocational provision for adults so that people
have the opportunity to learn the latest techniques and
approaches while learning in a vocational setting.
15. Employers must encourage their staff to share
their skills and knowledge, for example by participating in the
Education and Technical Vocational scheme.
16. The Ministry of Education and the CFBC must encourage the
application of learning technologies to extract maximum
value from expert lecturers and the materials they produce.
17. The Ministry of Education must review funding arrangements for
CFBC courses to ensure that it is Financially
sustainable for the College to deliver high quality
18. The Ministry of Education should ensure that 2 million teaching
capital fund encourages diversity by seeking evidence of
commitment (e.g. TVET) as a
prerequisite for receiving funding.
19. The Ministry of Education TVET Development bank and
commercial banks to ensure students are aware of
Professional Career Development Loans are available.
20. The Ministry of Education must develop concerted
engagement with College students, including work
placements to raise the profile of engineering careers and
ensure that students are aware of the full
range of diverse opportunities with engineering employers,
large and small.
21. Employers should explore the potential for
developing cooperative cross-sector schemes to support
22. The Ministry of Education, should seek further evidence
of unsatisfied demand for engineers trained to doctoral level,
and review arrangements for the support of PhD students in
the light of their findings.