National Training Agency Bill to create 1000s of new opportunities for Bahamians

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NASSAU, The Bahamas — Legislation contained in the National Training Agency Bill will provide the framework for the creation of a training programme and mechanism that will serve as a “bridge to the future” by creating new opportunities for thousands of Bahamians, Minister of State for National Security, Senator. The Hon. Keith R. Bell said.

Mr. Bell said the legislation will especially impact those under the age of 25 years, whose category “reflect the highest unemployment in the nation at 32 per cent.”

“The creation of the National Training Agency will, for the first time, create by law, an entity charged with the responsibility for creating and operating a flexible and responsive competency-based training and job referral and placement system; establishing a competency based training and job placement system that is flexible and responsive to the actual requirements of the workplace; providing job creation through training and employment schemes including internships, special job projects and entrepreneurial opportunities; and the expansion of a modern national apprenticeship programme in keeping with the Government’s policy on apprenticeship training,” Mr. Bell added.

The Agency will have the power to approve and certify courses to be pursued by persons desirous of obtaining vocational education and training through the Agency’s network of accredited training providers; approve, accredit and register public or private institutions, organisations, programs, or any training providers that wish to provide training, assessment services or both to the Agency to ensure that they are compliant with the minimum criteria as determined by the Agency, and develop comprehensive quality assurance strategies to ensure that programme delivery by training providers meet the Agency’s standards.

The NTA will also have responsibility for registering and approving persons as instructors or assessors of the Agency’s accredited training providers; maintaining a register of the Agency’s registrants, trainees, training providers, assessors and certified persons and granting certificates and other awards and submit reports regarding persons who are assessed.

“This legislation is far reaching and revolutionary,” Senator Bell said. “In responding to the need to ensure that the programme is objective, non-partisan, and does not victimise applicants, the Agency will be ran by a Board of Directors which will be composed of not less than nine members including a Chairperson and a Deputy Chairperson appointed by the Minister. The Chairperson shall not be a Member of Parliament or the Executive Director of the Agency ex officio.

“To further ensure that remaining members are best suited for the running of the Agency, this Bill requires that they will only be appointed after consultation with the relevant public and private organisations, as representatives of the Department of Public Service, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, The Bahamas Hotel Association, the Chambers of Commerce, Urban Renewal and the Labour Union,” Mr. Bell added.

Senator Bell said commitment towards national advancement as outlined in the Bill is “particularly profound during this period as we continue to celebrate our fortieth anniversary as an independent and sovereign nation.”

“The need for trained individuals can be seen in the many private sector institutes and programmes being created issuing diplomas and certificates upon completion,” Senator Bell said.

“Whilst I believe that the objectives of most of those persons who create these private institutes are noble, the Government must, in a comprehensive way provide a framework for the accreditation and standardization of the various programmes and diplomas.

“I am confident that this Agency, which has been launched, will transform the training and work environment of The Bahamas,” Senator Bell added.