C’dn government to fund skills program

OTTAWA, Canada: Canada has unveiled a component of its Skills for Employment initiative that will help the Caribbean region build a skilled workforce necessary for economic growth.

Minister of International Cooperation, Beverley Oda, announced that the Canadian government will invest approximately $40 million in various projects. The funding is part of an overall investment of $95 million to support vocational and technical training projects in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

“In developing countries, for those living in poverty to succeed, basic education is only the first step,” said Oda. “They also need training, skills and a chance for meaningful employment to live productive lives.”

“A skilled workforce will strengthen the foundation of businesses and industries as well as improve the community’s social stability. Canada, and institutions such as George Brown College (in Toronto), has the tools to provide the necessary know-how and help to develop a qualified workforce in developing countries around the world. That’s what the Skills for Employment initiative aims to do,” said Oda.

The new investment will support key priorities as identified by leaders and industry representatives in the Caribbean region. The skills training provided under this initiative will help women, men and youth gain the skills they need to participate in and contribute to the economic and social development of their own communities.

“There is a need in the Caribbean to improve the competitive skills of the region’s human resources base in order to support economic development,” said James Knight, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), which represents 152 Canadian community colleges, institutes of technology, vocational training institutes, CEGEPs (in Quebec) and university colleges across the nation.

“Canadian experts are sharing their knowledge with colleges in the Caribbean to help address current employment and education concerns. Canadian colleges and institutes will support colleges in the Caribbean to develop their capacity and better align skills training to the rapidly-changing employment, social and economic realities.”

According to a statement on the initiative, the Caribbean region’s component of the Skills for Employment is a key element of the Canadian government’s engagement in the Americas.

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