Ministry of Planning and Development receives $100,000 USD from the United Nations Children’s Fund’s GenU Project to develop a National Manpower Plan.
The Hon. Camille Robinson Regis, Minister of Planning and Development, accepted $100,000 USD along with technical support on behalf of the Government and people of Trinidad and Tobago, for the development of the National Manpower Plan. The support came on the behalf of the UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited (GenU) Project. Minister Regis expressed, “I am therefore happy that we have arrived at this juncture, where a collaboration has been forged to ensure that a ten-year National Manpower Plan can be produced for Trinidad and Tobago.”
Minister Robinson-Regis further adds that the successful implementation of this project and its recommendations will move Trinidad and Tobago closer to achieving our collective national vision of a united, resilient, productive, innovative and prosperous nation.
The development of a National Manpower Plan was undertaken based on research conducted by the Ministry of Planning and Development which revealed that there is a sense of urgency within the business sector to produce a Plan for Trinidad and Tobago. What the research identified was existence of skills gaps in areas within the local labour market. This has also been confirmed by various surveys such as the World Bank’s Enterprise Survey 2010 and the Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development’s Vacancy Survey Report 2012. In the Enterprise Survey, 30% of firms in Trinidad and Tobago stated that an inadequately educated workforce was a major constraint to business.
A National Manpower Plan would therefore serve to tackle these problems across the board within the education and employment systems of Trinidad and Tobago. It will also serve as a guide for setting priorities in terms of the critical skills needed for targeted areas of development and by extension the areas in which the demand for skills are needed. The Plan will also determine the future skills needs, while also indicating gaps and ways to address these imbalances, ensuring that the needs of employers, sectors and the overall economy are met. In addition, The National Manpower Plan is also intended to address the structure of the manpower system and make recommendations to address any challenges that affect labour demand and supply within Trinidad and Tobago.
The National Manpower Plan is projected to be completed by 2022.
Some of the other objectives of this Manpower Plan include:
- Closing the skills gap between labour demand and supply.
- Reform of the education and training system to provide appropriate / certifiable paths for students with varying abilities.
- Employment generation by facilitating and promoting the development of small businesses.
- The establishment of a database or National Registry of Skilled Individuals to be used for identification of certified skilled persons and measurement of the inventory of skills in the country.
- Career guidance to manage the expectation of entrants into the job market.
- Promotion of lifelong learning, given the aging population.
To initiate the partnership with UNICEF, an inaugural ceremony was held at the Ministry of Planning and Development’s Eric Williams Finance Building Head Office on Wednesday 25th November. The UN Resident Coordinator Ms Marina Walter, was present to endorse the initiative and pledge technical support towards the plans development via the UNICEF. Joining the ceremony virtually, adding context to the Generation Unlimited Project and its similarities with the National Manpower Plan’s objectives, was Dr Aloys Kamuragiye, Representative UNICEF Office for the Eastern Caribbean Area, and other UNICEF colleagues.
Representatives from Tobago House of Assembly, Ministry of Youth Development and National Service and private sector representatives and other governmental agencies logged in and were engaged virtually as stakeholders in the project. President and CEO of the Massy Group of Companies, Gervase Warner, was afforded the opportunity to share his heartfelt, but honest view of the gaps observed within the educational system, skill training and preparedness for the work. He underscored that employees were not adequately equipped for the changing environment of the private sector. Mr. Warner was optimistic that the intended plan would take a non-traditional approach to manpower planning, so as to better equip the future workforce of Trinidad and Tobago.