World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2012-08-07

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET strategy

Slow economic growth, high percentage of unskilled population and increasing rates of workforce migration have had a great influence on the country’s policy in terms of TVET, that is now developed into a standard bearer for the Caribbean and other developing countries of the world and is embodied in the operation of the HEART Trust/NTA, a statutory organisation that was established in 1982 by the National Government.

The provision of training in Jamaica is focused on imparting occupational skills to the individual and linking education individuals to the labour market by preparing them for effective engagement in the workforce. TVET system prepares worker and potential workers for viewing entrepreneurship as a preferred option.

Increasing access to certification services by certifying members of the Jamaican labour force through assessing and recognising prior learning and filling in training gaps of existing workers, as well as providing comprehensive, relevant training to individuals entering the workforce is an important goal pursued by the Jamaican TVET system.

TVET legislation

  • The Education Act adopted in 1980 and its amendments provide general regulatory framework for education in Jamaica.
  • The Human Employment and Resource Training Act of 1982 and its amendment of 1994 established the Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust and the National Council on Technical and Vocational Training (NCTVET).
  • The Act of the University of Technology was adopted in 1999. It changed the status of College of Arts Science and Technology to the University of Technology, whose main objective is to advance education and develop technology through a variety of patterns, levels and modes of study.
  • The Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica Act of 2001 established the Council which aims to promote high educational standards, while advancing the work of community colleges, developing the Jamaican workforce and promoting the benefits of obtaining a Community College Education.

  • HEART Trust/NTA (2004). Jamaica national report on technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Kingston: HEART Trust/NTA.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Jamaica. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

    Back to top

    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Jamaica. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Formal TVET system

At the secondary level of Jamaican education system students are prepared either to enter the job market or to continue their education at the higher level. The ROSE programme, introduced in 1993, contained curricula reform for secondary education. The new curricula introduced Resource and Technology subject area that integrates the components of 5 technical and vocational subject areas.

Overall secondary education consists of two cycles, where the first cycle covers grades 7-9 and the second one grade 10-11. Some of the schools also offer grades 12-13. Students at grade 9 may take The Grade Nine Achievement Test (GNAT). If passed successfully the test gives an opportunity to pursue secondary high and technical high schools.

Programmes on post-secondary and tertiary level are offered by the following institutions: teacher training colleges, community colleges, vocational training centres and institutes, the Vocational Training Development Institutes, schools of midwifery and nursing, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Technology. Community colleges provide a variety of pre-university, professional, commercial, vocational training and community-oriented programmes. Most of them lead to the award of diplomas, certificates and associate degrees. Some community colleges can also offer bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

The Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust, acting as the facilitating and coordinating body for workforce development in Jamaica, provides access to training, competence assessment and certification to all working age national population and offers career development and employment facilitation services. The Trust fulfils its mission through 3 training modalities:

  • Workforce Solutions (WS) that provides on the job training in the workplace;
  • Community Training Interventions (CTI) that is provided through partnerships established with the community stakeholders to include the public sector, private sector, community associations and other NGOs;
  • Institution-based training, which comprises of Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI), Workforce Colleges, TVET Institutes and Learning Resource Centre, representing a total of 28 formal technical vocational and education training (TVET) institutions and over 120 TVET special Programmes.
The activities of the HEART Trust Jamaica educate trainees mainly in the following sectors:

  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Financial Services
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Professional Services
  • Business Administration
  • Engineering and Construction
  • Services
  • Agricultural and Fishery

  • Lisa Taylor-Stone (2008). Case Studies of Public-Private Partnerships for Education and Workforce Development. The case of Jamaica: HEART Trust-NTA. Washington: OAS.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Jamaica. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

    Back to top

    3. Governance and financing


The Ministry of Education (MoE), its head administrative office and 6 regional offices, deliver and regulate education in Jamaica. The Core Curriculum Unit acting under the authority of MoE is in charge of curriculum and is headed by the Deputy Chief Office-Curriculum.

Other statutory bodies operating under MoE are:

  • Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Trust: a body whose main function is to develop, coordinate, monitor, encourage and provide financing for the training, employment and placement of different levels of skilled personnel
  • National Training Agency (NTA) was set up in order to carry out the mandate of the HEART Trust and to improve the coordination of vocational and technical training;
  • National Council for Technical/Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET): a body with the overall responsibility to develop occupational standards; to accredit and approve training programmes and institutions that meet the established standards; to accredit and approve individual competencies leading to the awarding of the National Vocations Qualifications of Jamaica (NVQ-J). Other functions of the Council are to certify technical and vocational instructors; to develop and apply assessment procedures; and to grant certificates to successful trainees;
  • National Council on Education (NCE): a body established by Parliament to ensure community involvement in the development of national policies on education;
  • Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning: an agency responsible for the provision of non-formal adult continuing education.

Jamaican TVET is financed through the HEART Trust Fund and is delivered by HEART Trust/NTA-supported institutions and programmes throughout the national territory.


  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Jamaica. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

    Back to top

    4. TVET teachers and trainers

According to the report on Training Teachers and Trainers in TVET in Jamaica (Lurlienne Miller, 1997) the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) of the HEART Trust/NTA has responsibility for ensuring that the Instructors who are certified to operate/practise in the TVET system are competent. The training is competency-based, where the competences relate to the following 4 areas:

  • Technical or Occupational Competence;
  • Academic Competence;
  • Pedagogical or Professional Competence; and
  • Personal qualities or Attitudinal Competence.
The Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI) under the patronage of HEART Trust/NTA runs educational programme for TVET teachers and Trainers. It currently offers a Bachelor of Education in TVET and a Diploma programme in Education and Training. The former is designed to prepare participants to become instructors in the TVET system, and the latter trains competent, professional teachers and trainers for the education and training systems as well as for the industry.


  • Lurlienne Miller (1997). Training of Teachers and Trainers in Technical and Vocational Education in Jamaica. Paris: UNESCO.

    Back to top

    5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Secondary vocational education

Students of grade 9 of the primary and junior high schools can take the Grade Nine Achievement Test (GNAT). Those passing the test are placed in secondary high school and technical high schools.

Students who have completed 5 years of secondary education may chose to take the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE). It is designed to provide certification of the academic, vocational and technical achievement for those wishing to pursue further studies.

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

The Jamaican National Vocational Qualification (NVQ-J) is a certificate of competence that is recognised nation-wide as well as in the CARICOM and Commonwealth countries. The certificate is proof that a person possesses the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to perform his/her tasks in accordance with the workplace requirements. Competency Standards for a qualification are the basis on which the performance is evaluated. These standards are developed and validated by Industry-lead Groups.

The NVQ-J certification is awarded at 5 levels:

  • Level 1: Directly Supervised Worker
  • Level 2: Supervised Skilled Worker
  • Level 3: Independent/Autonomous, Skilled Worker
  • Level 4: Supervisory, Specialist Worker
  • Level 5: Managerial Professional Worker
The NVQ-J provides the opportunity for more working age Jamaicans to get formal recognition of their competence. The NVQ-J can be awarded to:

  • High school graduates
  • School leavers without graduate certification
  • Workers in the labour force
  • Re-trenched (displaced) workers seeking new skills to re-enter the workforce
  • Self-employed individuals
NVQ-J recognises that competencies can be attained in a number of ways through:

  • Formal or informal training and education;
  • Work experience;
  • General life experience;
  • Combination of the above
Quality assurance

The National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and training (NCTVET) acts as the quality manager of the TVET system in Jamaica. It is responsible for developing competency standards and assessment instruments, providing certification to individuals and issuing accreditation to TVET institutions, programmes and registered training organisations.

The work of NCTVET helps to ensure that the TVET system in Jamaica meets the requirements of the industry; promotes confidence in the assessment outcomes on the part of industry, employers, enterprises, unions, employees, clients, assessors and trainers; and facilitates assessment processes and outcomes which are valid, reliable, fair and flexible.


  • Lisa Taylor-Stone (2008). Case Studies of Public-Private Partnerships for Education and Workforce Development. The case of Jamaica: HEART Trust-NTA. Washington: OAS.
  • NCTVET (2009). Assessment guidelines. Kingston: NCTVET.
  • Webpage of National Qualifications Register. Accessed: 30 May 2012.

    Back to top

    6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

With regard to meeting the challenges in TVET national authorities and agencies were assigned various tasks:

  • The Ministry of Education in collaboration with HEART Trust/NTA and Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) shall ensure that the secondary school system equips school leavers to access further education, training and/or decent work;
  • The Ministry of Education together with Training Institutions and Employers shall strengthen the mechanisms to align training with demands of the labour market.

Challenges of Jamaican TVET system can be outlined as follows:

  • The workforce is largely untrained and according to the National Development Plan of Jamaica- Vision 2030 Jamaica (2009) about 70% of the labour force has received no formal training. This is due to poorly developed training track through which training can be accessed;
  • Poor relation between the training programmes on offer and the demands of the labour market;
  • Inadequate funding that is unable to support labour force training. Partnership with the private sector is considered as a possible solution to this issue;
  • Lack of entrepreneurship training in TVET programmes. The training system does not sufficiently promote a culture of entrepreneurship that is very important for the creation of new employment opportunities;
  • Fragmented delivery of training; despite the fact that NCTVET operates as a regulatory body in all main aspects of TVET, the delivery and development of training programmes remain fragmented and differentiated in standard;
  • Absence of a Culture of Lifelong Learning. Changing the perception of training to a lifetime pursuit can increase the likelihood that untrained workers will seek training to gain professional qualifications;
  • Inadequate career guidance, that is not integrated into the TVET system; and
  • Lack of strong and efficient partnerships with the private sector, trade unions and other parts of the society.

  • Planning Institute of Jamaica (2009). Vision 2030 Jamaica: National Development Plan. Kingston: Planning Institute of Jamaica.

    Back to top

    7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)



Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2006

0 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
1.40 1.30
female male  
1.40 1.30
female male  

51.85 %

51.85 %

Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on UN ESA: World Population Prospects/ the 2010 revision

Employment (Million)

total female male


1.40 1.30
Labour Force
Labour Force Rate




Labour Force


0.09 (59%) 0.06 (41%)
Unemployment Rate






0.57 (45%) 0.70 (55%)

Youth Employment (Million)

total youth total female male
Population 2.70 0.51 (18.9%) 0.26 (49.9%) 0.26 (50.1%)
Labour Force Rate




Labour Force 0.14 0.17 (119.4%) 0.08 (43.6%) 0.10 (56.4%)
Unemployment Rate




Unemployed 1.27 0.05 (3.7%) 0.03 (53.2%) 0.02 (46.8%)
youth : total



Table compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC based on Key indicators of the labour market

Back to top

8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

Back to top

9. References, bibliography, abbreviations



  • NCTVET - National Council on Technical and Vocational Training
  • CAPE - Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination
  • GNAT - Grade Nine Achievement Test
  • HEART Trust - Human Employment and Resource Training Trust
  • ICT - Information Communication Technology
  • MoE - Ministry of Education
  • NCE - National Council on Education
  • NVQ-J - Jamaican National Vocational Qualifications Framework
  • VTDI - Vocational Training Development Institute

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2012-08-07
Validated by: Ms Carolyn Hayle;
HEART Trust, National Training Agency (HEART NTA)

page date 2017-05-05

Back to top