Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry launched the Apprenticeship Programme for the Wood and Wood Related Products Manufacturing Sub-sector on Tuesday 16th August, 2022. The Programme was developed in collaboration with the MIC-IT, the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association (TTMA) and the National Training Agency (NTA).

Minister Gopee-Scoon emphasized that the Wood and Wood Related Products is a crucial Manufacturing Sub-sector that has untapped potential and poised for growth, this sub-sector contributes 0.02% to GDP, employs approximately four thousand (4000) persons and exports valuing an estimated TT$24 million in 2020.   She reinforced that “a skilled and competent labour force is a critical component of an enhanced manufacturing sector facilitating the achievement of optimal productivity and increased competitiveness”. Therefore, the two-year Apprenticeship Programme aims to fill existing vacancies and skills gaps within the wood and wood related products manufacturing sub-sector including Manufacturing/warehouse manufacturing, Upholstery making, Wood Science, Hand tools and fabrication equipment, Drafting in construction or building materials related industry, Carpentry, Project Management, Machine Operation and automated finishing methods including UV curing.

The Apprenticeship Programme for the Wood and Wood Related Products will be administered in three (3) phases. The Programme covers the occupational areas of; Carpentry; Woodworking and Joinery Technology and will be delivered using a 1:3 ratio of theory to practical; employing a process-based mode, where learning content is transferred practically through project work. Apprentices will be trained in areas of Wood Technology, Design and Construction, Furniture Construction, Cabinet Making and gain practical experience on various woodworking equipment. Apprentices will also be required to complete an on-the-job training component at an industry partner site. Apprentices will receive a monthly stipend of TT$2,000 which will be covered by the Government. Upon successful completion of the Programme, apprentices will be presented with an Apprenticeship Programme for the Wood and Wood Products Manufacturing Sub-sector Diploma.

The Programme will incorporate the use of new technology such as AutoCAD, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining and personal tablet devices in the delivery of courses to reskill and retool Apprentices in order to meet the new and emerging skill requirements and drive technological advancement of the Wood and Wood Related Products Sub-sector. Acknowledging the critical role of the private sector in the success of this initiative, Minister Gopee-Scoon noted that the Ministry with the support of the TTMA and MIC-IT will engage Wood and Wood Products Manufacturing firms to become industrial partners and participate in the industrial attachment component of the Programme.

Ms Tricia Coosal, President, Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA), underscored the importance of collaboration between the private and public sector. Ms. Coosal stated “that continuing to invest in the labour force is another way of building capacity that will contribute to export promotion, the long term effect of growing the Wood and Wood Related Manufacturing sub-sector will be making it a larger contributor to Trinidad and Tobago’s foreign exchange reserves”. She reaffirmed TTMA’s commitment to encourage its members to take advantage of the Programme.

Chairman of the MIC-IT, Professor Clément Imbert said “this new Programme compliments and supplements the currently running Apprenticeship Programme”. He recalled the MIC-IT’s long history of training persons in the Manufacturing Sector, and attributed these origins to affirm MIC-IT’s ability to successfully implement this Programme. Professor Imbert also spoke to the high level of entrepreneurial training and inclusion of technology into the Apprenticeship Programme resulting in both the support to fill the labour gaps as well as the expansion of the Sub-sector.

The Programme will enroll fifty (50) apprentices and will be delivered at the St. Bede Technology at St. Augustine and the Pleasantville Technology Centres in South Trinidad. To matriculate in the Programme applicants are required to be a national or resident of Trinidad and Tobago and have preferably:

  • Three (3) CSEC or GCE passes (1,2,3 or A,B,C respectively) in Mathematics, English, and any of the Sciences

Or

have successfully completed either one of the following:

  • Helping You Prepare for Employment (HYPE) Programme – Building Construction Level 1 (Dual Skilling) CVQ L1 Skill Areas;
  • Multi-sector Skills Training (MuST) – Building Construction CVQ Level 2 Skill Areas namely; Welding, Plumbing, Masonry, Carpentry and Electrical Installation;
  • An equivalent level certification at other training institutions such as: the National Energy Skills Center (NESC) or the Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP) courses in building construction, carpentry, or other related woodworking courses.

The MIC-IT is currently inviting interested persons between the ages of 17-25 to register.

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