CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

March 20, 2009 11:30 ET

Canada Launches Major Vocational Training Initiative for the Caribbean

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 20, 2009) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced another component of the Skills for Employment initiative that will help the Caribbean region build a skilled workforce necessary for economic growth.

"In developing countries, for those living in poverty to succeed, basic education is only the first step. They also need training, skills and a chance for meaningful employment to live productive lives," said Minister Oda. "A skilled workforce will strengthen the foundation of businesses and industries as well as improve the community's social stability. Canada, and institutions such as George Brown College, has the tools to provide the necessary know-how and help to develop a qualified workforce in developing countries around the world. That's what the Skills for Employment initiative aims to do."

The Caribbean region component of the Skills for Employment initiative consists of an investment of approximately $40 million in projects. This funding is part of an overall new investment of $95 million to support vocational and technical training projects in Africa, Asia and the Americas. It is in addition to the $140 million annual average that CIDA already invests in vocational training. The new investments will support the key priorities as identified by leaders and industry representatives in the Caribbean region. The skills training provided under this initiative will help women, men and youth gain the skills they need to participate in, and contribute to, the economic and social development of their own communities.

"There is a need in the Caribbean to improve the competitive skills of the region's human resources base in order to support economic development. Canadian experts are sharing their knowledge with colleges in the Caribbean to help address current employment and education concerns. Canadian colleges and institutes will support colleges in the Caribbean to develop their capacity and better align skills training to the rapidly-changing employment, social and economic realities", said James Knight, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). The ACCC represents 152 Canadian community colleges, institutes of technology, vocational training institutes, CEGEPs and university colleges across Canada.

The Caribbean region component of the Skills for Employment initiative is a key element of the Government of Canada's engagement in the Americas.


BACKGROUNDER

SKILLS FOR EMPLOYMENT - CARIBBEAN REGION

The Canadian International Development Agency's Skills for Employment programming in the Caribbean region will link Canadian community colleges with their counterparts to establish technical and vocational education and training programs that will achieve concrete and quantifiable results. Initial work through the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) will determine which subjects and which institutions in the region will be the focus of investments in the range of $40 million.

Canada's Skills for Employment initiative in the Caribbean is expected to increase employability; train trainers in key subject areas and adjust curricula to meet priority regional needs. It will take into account labour market information to adapt curricula to demand and will ensure a more decentralized and entrepreneurial approach to college management. The Skills for Employment initiative will involve business and industry in the design and development of programs; revise national vocational training policies to permit more autonomous functioning of skills training institutions while enhancing linkages between Canadian and Caribbean institutions. Studies have found that the best performing colleges are those that are well financed, autonomous, held accountable for results, and headed by farsighted, creative leaders.

The Skills for Employment initiative in the Caribbean is a key element of Canada's commitment to playing a bigger role in the Americas, to promote basic democratic values, to strengthen economic linkages and to meet new security challenges. The end goal of the Skills for Employment initiative is to reduce poverty and inequity effectively contributing to achieving Canada's vision in the Americas.

The Skills for Employment initiative will help reform the approach and delivery of skills training, will help modernize curricula design and teaching practices and establish a network of institutional partners to ensure sustainability. The purpose of the Skills for Employment initiative in the Caribbean region is to significantly increase the number of young men and women in skilled positions and meaningful employment.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Michelle Coates
    Press Secretary
    819-953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    media@acdi-cida.gc.ca