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16 March 2011

A contribution to Jamaican vocational training from European industry

Group photo outside the Jamaican Prime Minister’s office

By Martin Williams, Product Manager - Training & Consulting, Festo

Since the Australian–European delegation was mostly concerned with looking at “doing the right things”, we wanted to add an opportunity to explore “doing things right”. Four proposals for workshops were sent to Grace McLean, Chief Education Officer in Jamaica, for consideration – three of these were selected and put into the program. So during the week, in my role as the European and Industry delegate from Europe, I ran three four-hour workshops on:

  1. Fostering organisational and people skills in technical training – making it much more fun for everyone including the trainer.
  2. Formulating competency-based training outcomes - the essential and often neglected key to effective training.
  3. An approach to conducting a Training Needs Analysis - we use case-by-case for industry customers, but the principles are generic.

The workshops were highly interactive. The participants were generally surprised that after a short introduction they were totally involved in an activity such as a line up in two axes on the floor. They stood in a position that showed their experience in Training Needs Analysis against the relevance for their job. There was also group work gathering ideas on how technical training could be adapted to foster people and organisational skills. 

Pin board full of ideas and suggestions for the next steps

The overall outcome in each workshop was that everyone in the room realised that they could learn from others there – and that getting these things right would have a significant impact on vocational training. It would improve the standard of training, its efficiency, the engagement of the young trainees and the amount of attention being paid to win over young people for skill areas in the first place, otherwise all other efforts would be in vain.

Many thanks to all Jamaican participants who actively contributed their best and made the workshops a success. Particularly to Grace McLean, Chief Education Officer, who organised it all so well and Owen Wilson, Education Officer, who provided invaluable and unfailing support of all kinds during the workshops.

If you are interested in more information about the workshops contact Martin Williams.