Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training, Fazal Karim has called on the University of Trinidad & Tobago to develop the course for local content, as he addressed the first Local Content Summit entitled Right. This was in response to the Local Content Chamber’s request for sending its members abroad for training in the said area.
Karim further stated, “Why should we send two away when we can have 22 right here.” The event was hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Local Content Chamber (TTLCC) on November 17, 2014 at the Conference Hall, Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce, Camden Road, Couva.
The summit comprised presentations, panel discussions by experts in the areas of entertainment, Carnival Human Resource Software, Global Local Content Community, Procurement Legislation, Natural Resources and Food Security. The TTLCC has been founded by a few companies, based on their recognition that there is critical need for a business association.
In keeping with the theme of Karim’s address, “Bridging the Skills Gap – From Canefields to Brainfields” he indicated that the Workforce Assessment Centres (WAC) certify persons who have their own business and are practising in their respective areas. It is also an initiative to increase local content as these persons are now recognized through certification. To date, at least 5,000 lives have been touched and he proposed to increase that number to 10,000 within the next six to eight months.
The Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training and its affiliate institutions are committed to providing contractors and employers with an “adequately skilled and reliable workforce.” In fact, Karim announced that they are presently developing a database called “Skills T&T” which will consist of all graduates within the tertiary and vocational sector.
Employers will be able to access potential employees at a simple click.
Moving from “rhetoric to reality” is pivotal as the strive to increase local content is on-going. One such embodiment is the introduction of the Certificate in Aviation Technology at the UTT’s Camden Campus. Minister Karim informed the gathering that out of a pool of more than two hundred and seventy five applications, twenty five persons commenced classes today at the Point Lisas Energy Camps, until Camden is completed. The students will be trained in the areas of Avionics, Tower Control Systems among other areas.
The creative sector is a crucial aspect of local content. During the question and answer segment, one patron at the Summit asked Minister Karim what is being put in place for its development of “artisans and artists”. Karim stated that with the efficiency of UTT’s Creative and his ministry, he proposes to negotiate the establishment of “OJT for Creativity and the Arts”.