PM praises MIC trainees: Your skill strengthens the nation

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Keith Rowley has a conversation with students during the launch of the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Programme (MAP) at MIC-IT’s Head Office, Macoya, Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Despite the different economic constraints facing the government during the covid19 pandemic, the Prime Minister says he is confident that various training programmes will go a long way to enhancing the country’s economic capabilities.

Speaking during the launch of a national apprenticeship programme for the non-energy manufacturing sector at the MIC-IT compound, Macoya, on Thursday afternoon, Dr Rowley said he was encouraged by the number of participants in the programme.

Citing the need for developing a more skilled workforce to drive the post-pandemic economy, Rowley praised the trainees for their decision to join the programme and implored them to make full use of the mentoring available to them for the programme’s three year term.

He added that the government continues to place a high priority on education and skills training and would make resources available to improve the quality of their programmes.

Prime Minister Keith Rowley takes a photo with students during the launch of the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Programme (MAP) at MIC-IT’s Head Office, Macoya, Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

“Contribute that three years to the rest of the years of your long life.

“I have every confidence that your teachers, your mentors and guides have what it takes to make you world-class trainees and specialists in the skills that you are training, you will strengthen our country in a way that no steel can.

“Your success is the success of TT and we are waiting at the end of your period when you will confidently step into the workplace and take our country forward.”

Referring to data published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which suggested that 530 million jobs should be created to address unemployment, Rowley said such projects would make a difference and were in line with the government’s roadmap to recovery.

He also noted that the programme would also be considered during a labour-market report which would identify weaknesses and areas for improvement in certain manufacturing sub-sectors.

Prime Minister Keith Rowley looks at a CNC lathe during a tour of the MIC-IT’s Advanced Workshop and Macoya Workforce Development Centre (MWDC) in Macoya, Thursday. – AYANNA KINSALE

Rowley said digitisation and innovation were the two major focuses of the government’s roadmap to recovery and said, given the interest shown by the public in enrolling, a similar programme would also be introduced in wood-working.

“This apprenticeship programme for wood and wood-products manufacturing sub-sector is expected to result in the transformation of that sub-sector, leading to the advancement of higher value-added wood-related manufacturing. And it can also provide an opportunity to diversify TT’s manufacturing profile, expanding from the production of food and beverage which currently dominates TT’s non-energy manufacturing.”

During her address, Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon also commended the trainees for taking their first steps towards finding a meaningful career, and encouraged them to work hard and excel in their various fields.

She said the programme would not only provide short-term financial relief to the trainees through a $3,000 stipend, but would also provide valuable marketable skills after their completion. She also encouraged trainees to take the programme seriously.

“I want to say today that you are really being given the gift of an economic base, not talking about the $3,000 stipend which I think is quite generous from the State.

“That would make sure you are at class and all your needs are attended to so you can focus on what is front of you. And when I say that economic base, it means that, when you leave here after three years, it means you are going to fit into the manufacturing sector. You are going to be in a job, actually make a fairly decent salary, (and) you are going to be qualified to particular jobs that are in demand.

“You will be putting yourself in a position where you can purchase all of your needs and wants in terms of a home and a car and all that. That is the kind of base you are acquiring here today, but its up to you to apply yourselves in this programme.”