Youth in agriculture initiative in the works for Trinidad’s On-the-Job Training Programme

OJT striving to make impact on young people in rural areas, those who may be keen towards technical-vocational fields 

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO — A youth in agriculture initiative is on the table for Trinidad and Tobago’s On-the-Job Training Programme (OJT), said Director Joann David, who noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of food security globally.

The OJT is a government-supported initiative that places young graduates (aged 16 to 35) with public or private sector companies to provide them with 24 months of hands-on job experience, dramatically improving their employability.

OJT trainees receive stipends and are often hired by the company they were placed with after completing the programme, making it a win-win opportunity in numerous ways.

During an interview with Caribbean Employment, David shared that the programme usually has a strong outreach component and she would like to take that even further.

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    On-the-Job Training Division Director Joann David.

    “We want to be able to make that impact on young persons within the rural areas and persons who may not be readily available to come into the OJT based on its basic requirements.”

    - On-the-Job Training Division Director Joann David

    “One of the collaborations I’m trying to do right now is youth in agriculture, supported by the OJT, because the government is investing in youth and I feel that there are young persons who have chosen to do technical-vocational areas,” David disclosed.

    Acknowledging that agriculture is “a big thrust of the government” at the moment, the director added, “We are talking to the Ministry of Youth in Trinidad and Tobago and Ministry of Agriculture to be able to do that all-of-government approach, as we [have] limited resources but we want to be able to make that impact on young persons within the rural areas and persons who may not be readily available to come into the OJT based on its basic requirements.”

     

    Agriculture the key to survival 

    The On-the-Job Training (OJT) Programme of Trinidad & Tobago.

    Elaborating on the timeliness of a government-supported youth in agriculture programme, David highlighted the importance of food security “when the global world locks down”.

    “Self-sufficiency in feeding your population is critical to your survival,” the director noted, “so I think all governments, especially in the region, will have to look at that because we would have gone through a global pandemic and they would have looked at the impact in terms of the ability to import all that we import in terms of foreign food.

    “So, I think that focus on looking at agriculture is key to our survival.”

    Given the industry’s importance even on a global scale, David revealed that the government would be looking to start the youth agriculture initiative “early in 2022”. However, she noted that conversations have only just recently begun, so a firm timeline has yet to be mapped out.

    Find out more about the On-the-Job Training Programme on its website at https://www.labour.gov.tt/employment/on-the-job-training-programme.

    For job opportunities in agriculture and a wide array of other sectors in Trinidad and Tobago as well as throughout the Caribbean region, visit Caribbean Employment Services Inc. today.

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