The MOU Training Programme
In February 2004, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Government of Jamaica and the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) outlining the collaborative measures to be implemented to promote the country’s sustainable development in light of deteriorating economic conditions. Included in the various clauses of the agreement was a commitment ‘to improve the quality of the labour force through training, retraining and education and the maintenance of core labour standards in the public sector’. With this commitment as a basis, a training programme was designed aimed at public sector employees with a view to preparing the public sector workforce for the needs of a modern labour market. Workers were asked to identify the skills which they wanted to acquire and from this, a Summer Training Programme was developed. Under the training programme, employees were eligible to access training in a cross-section of vocational skills. The programme began in July 2004 with 18 Training Institutions partnering with the Cabinet Office in delivering 54 courses to 1100 employees.The courses included Basic Computer, Computer Graphics, Meeting & Conference Planning, Etiquette & Social Graces, Spanish, Entrepreneurship, Drapery Making and Floral Arrangement. In June 2005, the programme was expanded to 5 other parishes and to other categories of workers and public sector organizations. 1600 employees completed 118 courses offered by 42 Training Institutions which included High Schools, Community Colleges, Teacher Colleges, HEART Academies and Community Based Training Institutions. Courses included Bridal Consultancy, Child Care, Landscaping, Housekeeping, Motor Vehicle Repairs, Electrical Installation, Tiling, First Aid and Webpage Design.
A new MOU was signed in 2006, which gives civil servants the opportunity to be trained in areas such as Computer Skills, Food and Beverage, Cake Baking and Decoration, Food Preparation, Landscaping, Housekeeping, Garment Construction and Drapery, Entrepreneurship, Graphic Designing and English Language. To date 28 categories of workers in the Public Sector has benefited from the Programme involving 64 public sector organizations.70 Training institutions have conducted 288 courses with 4100 employees successfully completing courses.
With the signing of a second MOU in June 2006 training opportunities have been extended to include all levels of public sector employees in vocational skills training and ‘institutional capacity building’. This extension of the programme will provide those persons at higher levels of the salary scale to participate in work related training such as e-government, project management, change management, stress management, writing skills and conflict resolution which will directly contribute to improved job performance. The Training programme will be conducted in collaboration with training institutions such as MIND, the Mona Institute of Business and HEART Trust NTA.
The training programmes being offered under the GoJ/JCTU MOU have been developed within the context of the Government’s commitment to continuously provide opportunities for the training and development of public servants, a consistently significant element of the Government’s effort to transform the public sector as laid out in Ministry Paper No. 56/02- equipping employees with the skills necessary to offer efficient professional service.
With the modifications that have been made to the design of the training programme under the current MOU, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies have all been invited to identify and submit their short and medium term training needs to the Corporate Management and Development team of the OFFICE OF THE CABINET, to facilitate the identification of priority areas for the training programme based on capacities within the relevant institutions that need to be built.