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Manufacturers welcome MIC mechatronics programme


David Lee, Chairman, MIC Institute of Technology, left, and Fazal Karim, Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training chats with Marquez of Blue Waters, and Edwin Sampson and Stein Sinnette of Carib Brewery after the graduation ceremony of the MIC Institute of Technology Practical Mechatronics Training at the MIC Auditorium, Century Drive, Trincity Industrial Estate, Macoya on Tuesday 21st July, 2015.

Now that the first group of trainees have graduated from the MIC Institute of Technology’s Mechatronics Scholarship Programme, which was designed to address the labour shortage, two manufacturers yesterday said that even though the training would not entirely fulfil the labour needs, they welcomed the initiative.

Mechatronics is a multi-disciplinary field of engineering that includes training in a mixture of mechanical, electrical, telecommunications, control and computer engineering.

Since earlier this year, members of the business community, including manufacturers, have been complaining about a shortage of labour. Since then a number of initiatives have been put in place including training by the MIC Institute of Technology,

Prem Nandlal, chairman of Advance Foam Ltd and founding board member at MIC, said manufacturing is a highly competitive field and having highly trained workers would be an asset. He added that there were a number of manufacturers who had deepened their footprint in the Caribbean, Latin America and “we are going into Chile, Central America we are targeting the Dominican Republic, we are targeting Cuba because we feel that the capability that we have in our manufacturing, we can compete.”

In mid-May Fazal Karim Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training toured many manufacturing plants including the Carib Brewery to determine what the labour needs of the manufacturers were.

Rahim Mohammed, Human Resources Manager of ANSA McAL’s beverage sector also speaking at the graduation said the company had operations in Grenada and St Kitts and was exploring the option of bringing workers from those plants to train at MIC.

“We have two breweries one in Grenada and one in St Kitts and the plan is to bring our technical staff to T&T to benefit from programmes such as these.”

Fazal Karim, Tertiary Education and Skills Training Minister, delivering the feature address, said the event was an historic one and it comes after the “Meet the Manufacturers” exercise which was conducted in May.

“What we are doing here is bringing the taxpayers’ resources for the benefit of the people of this country, so that companies use the facilities of all the training institutions, that is what is called external economies of scale.”

Karim added that a similar exercise of training employees is going to be done with the businesses which belong to the Couva Point Lisas Chamber.

“We are going to be engaging in a similar event this Friday, with the Couva Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce where we are going to assign all the companies to ensure that the internship and training programmes conducted by the NESC, UTT, Ytepp in that area will be made available to all those manufacturers.”

Karim added that the Ministry is moving away from low skills and low wage, to high skills and high wage. He said education and training are important in order to create a competitive society.

He assured that continuous training under the programmes under his Ministry such as Ytepp, MIC and NESC and others would continue.

Taken from: Trinidad Guardian
Story by: Nadaleen Singh
Photo by: Andre Alexander
Date: Wednesday 22nd July, 2015
Page: A15, Business

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