Minister of Education Anthony Garcia says there is a need in this country for more persons with technical and vocational skills and he has urged students to seek out careers in such fields.
For many students, career paths in the medical, legal or engineering field are perceived as being the most prestigious and viable options for a secure and prosperous future.
This perception may come from children’s observations or parental influence. However, according to the minister, there is now a national need for technical and vocational skills.
“The world is changing and if we are to pay attention to our developmental needs, we need to look not only to those…professions but we need to look at the technical and vocational studies,” he told Guardian Media.
“In the past, people felt if their child was having some difficulty in terms of the academic subjects that were taught, the parents said well go learn a trade. On the flip side, people would say my son or my daughter must be a lawyer. What we have found today is, there are many doctors who are not employed, there are many lawyers who are finding difficulty for employment. It underlines the fact that the technical and vocational subjects are increasing in their importance.”
In light of this, the minister has encouraged students to be open to the idea of such a career path by making use of the systems already in place in the schools.
“We want to ensure that our students at the secondary level take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the areas of tech voc education…most of the secondary schools have programmes, not only welding but craft programmes; plumbing, electrical installation and so on,” he said.
Garcia also indicated that the ministry recently concluded the training of over 100 teachers to provide support in the technical and vocational subjects.
“They graduated from MIC in the area of technical and vocational educational teacher training so going back to the school they would better be able to impart that knowledge,” he said.
This is not the first time such a call has been made.
In January during the President’s Medal Award ceremony, President Paula-Mae Weekes said the focus should also be given to students who want to be mechanics or electricians and not just lawyers and doctors.