As stated in its education policy paper (Trinidad and Tobago. Ministry of Education, 1994), skills training forms an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago’s adult training programme. The following are the skills programmes offered:
The Adult Education Programme, which offers introductory occupational courses aimed at providing basic practical training for young unemployed adults desirous of training for meaningful employment, and assisting them in discovering their potential.
Servol, which focuses on occupational skills training and micro-entrepreneurial money management training for adolescents between the ages of 16 to 19 who live in disadvantaged areas, and who did not have access to the formal education system. There are 40 centres in operation at present, with expansion plans to include another 15.
Youth Development and Apprenticeship Centres, which provide basic marketing skills through a two-year period of full-time training to underprivileged, unemployed, and educationally disadvantaged youths between the ages of 14 to 21. On average, 750 males and 250 females are admitted to the centres biannually. Males are taught construction and auto mechanics, while females are taught handicraft, garment construction, and cookery in line with the traditional skills training programmes. These programmes lead to the Certificate of Acquired Competencies necessary for entry to the national examination in their trade of choice.
The Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP), which was launched by the government in August, 1988 to provide quality skill and entrepreneurial training, and career enhancement to unemployed adults between the ages of 15 and 30. There are 40 centres throughout Trinidad and Tobago with trained tutors sanctioned by the Ministry of Education. There are presently 1,000 trainees per year, with each programme cycle lasting for nine months. Participants are trained to produce goods and services on a commercial basis.
This information shows that Trinidad and Tobago is not only committed to literacy training for its adult population, but also to skills training. There, however, seems to be one limitation; it does not seem to be skills training for all. With the exception of YTEPP, all skills training provided is for young adults under the age of 21 years. This limitation raises questions about the skills training programmes since there are no age limitations on adult education, as defined by the EFA target dimensions.
Skills Training in the Prison Population
Two major skills training programmes have been implemented in Trinidad and Tobago’s prisons:
YTEPP, which has been extended into the prison systems, offers the following programmes: aquaculture, food preparation, large-scale vegetable production, and bee keeping. Participants obtain certificates of participation, which can assist them in gaining employment after their release from prison. The programme is also offered in the female prisons.
The in-house education project, which offers courses in dance, craft, cake decoration, and cultural activities such as playing the cuatro and the steel pan. Skills such as auto electrical, upholstering, cabinet making, construction, animal husbandry, plumbing, electrical installation, welding, and the culinary arts are also offered.
Although these programmes are an extension of those available in the wider society, they do not appear to be as heavily emphasised as they are in the general adult population.