The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has developed a framework for sustainable development based on seven (7) interconnected pillars as the cornerstone of our strategy. One of these pillars is to develop “A More Diversified, Knowledge Intensive Economy – Building on the Native Genius of Our People.” Increasing demands on the abilities and experience of workers due to changing methods, products, materials, and technology call for a strategic approach to developing the workforce. One such approach is the establishment of a National Apprenticeship System for Trinidad and Tobago as stated in the Policy for Tertiary Education, Technical Vocational Education and Training and Life Long Learning (Tertiary Education Policy; P 22).
With the increasing development of the different sectors within the country the demand for all classifications of skilled workers is increasing. A method of training that is cost effective, goal oriented, and designed to meet the specific skill needs of the employer is or paramount importance. While we await the national apprenticeship system the National Training Agency of Trinidad and Tobago (NTATT) proposes the development and implementation of apprenticeship training programmes in the public and private sectors with individual companies based on demand.
What is Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a system of skilled occupational training that combines practical work experiences acquired in industry with related technical instructions generally obtained in an institutional setting leading up to a nationally approved qualification.
Apprenticeship is an approach to learning that is not new, one of the oldest and proven methods of skills development is through Apprenticeship training. As a result all first world countries continue to adopt apprenticeship training as a strategy for continuous workforce development.
The rationale for this assertion is four-fold:
- Apprenticeship involves the direct involvement of industry in training whereby candidates receive on the job exposure to what is required for the workplace. This results in a “graduate” that is immediately better aligned to the requirements of the work environment in which training took place
- Apprenticeship, as a non-formal approach to education and training complements the more formal process provided by bona fide training institutions and therefore enhances the access to those individuals who are best suited to the non-formal style of teaching.
- In a well-designed, structured Apprenticeship Programme, candidates will receive training that is practical and relevant, complemented and reinforced by the appropriate theory. This well rounded approach can produce top quality craftsmen and artisans and can empower the individual to access higher level education, if desired.
- In the Apprenticeship Programme, industry will receive the workers that are guaranteed to be suitable for the job; workers will have the satisfaction of and confidence from an appropriate, high quality of training and education in a system that provides horizontal and vertical articulation to other pinnacles of the education system.
Benefits of Apprenticeship for the Company:
- Becomes a part of the National Apprenticeship system, thereby creating greater prestige through public recognition both locally, regionally and nationally;
- Provides a systematic form of training and develops a more informed employee who fits into the company;
- Ensures training standards of the occupation are met while improving training standards in the industry
- Requires a long-term commitment by the employee
- Attracts better applicants and improves employer-employee relationships
- Develops a more competent employee who is capable of advancing to more responsible positions within the company
- Improves productivity, as well as their profitability.
- Resources saved from reduced use of alternative forms of training
- Resource savings from lower administrative costs (recruitment)
- Resources saved from reduced employee turnover
- Reduce absenteeism.
Benefits of Apprenticeship for the Apprentice:
- Identifies a detailed, planned training schedule during the term of apprenticeship
- Provides recognition for successful completion of the program
- Provides incentives for self-employment
- Requires a long-term commitment by the employer;
- Ensures that the training will meet acceptable national industrial training standards
- Ensures proper related technical instruction
- Provides an increasing scale of wage during the entire training period
- Provides full-time employment, subject to business conditions
- Provides a broader base for advancement to other positions within a company
- Individuals completing formal training will receive validated credentials as fully qualified and competent workers.