World TVET Database - Country Profiles

Trinidad and Tobago

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
Trinidad and Tobago
published: 2015-10-01

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET mission

The aim of TVET in Trinidad and Tobago is to help the country reach the Education for All (EFA) objectives. Specifically TVET programmes play a pivotal role in the social, economic, and cultural development of Trinidad and Tobago.

TVET strategy

The TVET strategies are guided by a number of documents including:

(1) The Medium-Term Policy Framework 2011-2014 named Innovation for Lasting Prosperity puts forward a national direction for an innovation driven, growth economy which aims to enhance the socio-economic condition of Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens, emphasising economic inclusiveness, greater equity and more meaningful citizen participation. The Medium-Term Policy Framework sets a number of TVET related objectives, including:

  • Implement the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme (GATE) for tertiary education level TVET programmes;
  • Restructure the GATE programme to include entrepreneurship and innovation;
  • Expand the Advanced Training Programme through new apprenticeship programmes and industry specific courses;
  • Establish more Workforce Development and Assessment Centres and develop more programmes aimed at enhancing basic skills and retooling and upgrading workers;
  • Strengthen TVET and expand the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs); and
  • Improve career guidance services for students.
(2) The Policy on Tertiary Education, Technical Vocational Education and Training, and Lifelong Learning in Trinidad and Tobago (2010) emphasises the importance of TVET in the development of Trinidad and Tobago, and sets a number of initiatives, including:

  • Promote TVET as an alternative to more traditional modes of education;
  • Develop, implement, and maintain a national TVET Plan;
  • Align TVET programmes and policies to support the developmental goals of the government;
  • Ensure that TVET providers meet the quality assurance requirements;
  • Facilitate youth employment and transition to work, including training in enterprises, and the use of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) to facilitate ongoing training of employed and unemployed individuals;
  • Promote lifelong learning (LLL) initiatives for employability and citizenship;
  • Encourage information and communication technology (ICT) in vocational training;
  • Enhance training programmes in the informal, domestic, and rural economy for the employability of vulnerable groups; and
  • Establish and maintain a national TVET system to harmonise, standardise, and evaluate all formal and non-formal national training in TVET.
Trinidad and Tobago, as a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state and a member of the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA), also ascribes to the CARICOM Regional Strategy for TVET (2012). The Regional Strategy guides action plans in member states to implement the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) and strengthen the delivery of TVET.

TVET legislation

  • The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago Act (2004) instituted the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT), responsible for quality assurance and continuous improvement in tertiary education. The Act also regulates TVET through its Registration and Accreditation Processes.
  • The Education Act (1996) has established the education system in Trinidad and Tobago, and delineates the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education in administering the education and TVET system.


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2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC and extracted from UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education VII ed. Trinidad and Tobago. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

Upon completing seven years of primary education, students proceed to a secondary education that includes 12 years of schooling. Schools at the secondary education level are divided into two:

  • Private schools are normally classified as traditional and programmes, lasting from five to seven years, are generally designed for those who want to attend courses at the tertiary education level, or for those who want to be employed at the clerical level in traditional workplaces; and
  • State secondary education is divided into two cycles, a lower (Form 1-3) and an upper cycle (Form 4-5). Post-secondary education (Sixth Form) is available to students who have at least five (5) CSEC subject.

Formal TVET system

TVET programmes are offered at the secondary and post-secondary education levels in state secondary institutions. At the lower secondary level, schools offer programmes in technical and vocational subjects. At the upper secondary education level, students can either follow Caribbean secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) TVET subjects such as clothing and textile, Electrical Electronic Engineering Technology (EEET), or attend Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) Regional Occupational Standards (ROS) programmes in, amongst other subjects, auto mechanics, electrical installation or plumbing.

At the post-secondary education level, students are able to take advanced two-year technical and vocational courses. Programmes leading to the award of technician diploma normally require additional on-the-job training.

TVET programmes at the tertiary education level are offered by universities or other National Training Agency (NTA) approved TVET providers, and normally last two years.

Non-formal and informal TVET systems

Non-formal TVET programmes are offered by the state, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and industry sector stakeholders. For example, the NTA provides On-the-Job Training (OJT) programme, giving people aged 16-35 the opportunity to gain practical experience and work-based training in companies. The training programme is focused on a number of sectors, including: (1) airports; (2) agriculture; (3) culinary arts; (4) digital; (5) engineering; (6) environment; (7) media; and (8) medical.

Work placement and scholarships are also provided by the Scholarships and Advanced Training Division under the Ministry of Public Administration. Job placements last one to five years, depending on the scholarship provided, and are normally conducted in the public and private sectors.

NGOs also provide training opportunities targeted at disadvantaged and marginalised people and provide training in a number of areas, including technical skills and adult development.

The Youth Training and Employment Partnership Programme (YTEPP) – a limited organisation initiated by the government – provides training targeted at the unemployed and retrenched employees between the ages of 15 and 50 years.


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3. Governance and financing


There are two ministries responsible for TVET in Trinidad and Tobago. The Ministry of Education (MOE) is responsible for administering formal TVET at the secondary education level and the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training (TEST) is responsible for administering TVET at the post-secondary education level and the tertiary education levels.

In order to have a coherent human resource development plan, the government established the National Training Agency (NTA) in 1999 and its main duty is to coordinate, harmonise, standardise, monitor, and evaluate the national TVET system in Trinidad and Tobago. Specifically the NTA aims to develop a certified, competent, innovative and entrepreneurial workforce. In collaboration with industry experts, employers, training providers and professional bodies, the NTA: (1) develops national occupational standards; (2) develops the National Qualifications Framework (NQF); (3) provides guidance and support regarding quality assurance; and (4) provides information on labour market demand. Importantly, the NTA also implements and monitors the Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) and the Trinidad and Tobago National Vocational Qualifications (TTNVQs).

Other actors involved in TVET governance include:

  • The Ministry of Labour and Small and Micro Enterprise Development (MOLSMED) assists in human resource development and provides National Employment Services (NES), which includes offering employment services, vocational information to schools, and conducting in-house World-of-Work Seminars.
  • The National Examinations Council (NEC) monitors examinations, certifications, and related activities in related to technical and vocational training in the education system. Specifically the NEC, in collaboration with the NTA, is responsible for monitoring that TVET programmes and qualifications are relevant to labour market needs.
  • The Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) is an association of Caribbean national training agencies and aims to: (1) ensure the uniform provision of competency-based training, assessment and verification; (2) promote career and vocational guidance throughout the region; and (3) promote lifelong learning (LLL).


TVET programmes are primarily funded by the government. The Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses programme (GATE) and the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) – managed by the Funding and Grants Administration Division of the TEST – helps fund students’ expenses at the post-secondary and tertiary education levels. Apart from government funding, TVET programmes are also funded by the corporate sector and professional associations.


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4. TVET teachers and trainers

In order to teach TVET in Trinidad and Tobago, TVET teachers and trainers must obtain a Teacher's Registration Number. There are six different grades of TVET teachers and trainers, classified according to academic education, training and industrial experience. For example, the Technical Vocational Teacher one must possess at least three CSEC/GCE subjects including Mathematics and English language, a craftsman Diploma/Certificate in a specific disciple and at least two years industrial experience. Additional TVET teachers include the

  • Technical Vocational Teacher two;
  • Technical Vocational Teacher three;
  • Technical Vocational Teacher four;
  • Teacher two; and
  • Teacher three.
In order to teach in the non-formal and informal sectors, TVET teachers and trainers are not required to be registered and are normally similarly qualified as teachers in the formal sector or only possess industrial experience.


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5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Secondary vocational education

Programme Duration Qualification
Lower secondary education 3 years National Certificate of Secondary Education (NCSE)
Upper secondary education 2 years Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) or the Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE)
Post-secondary education 2 years Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)

Post-secondary vocational education

Programme Duration Qualification
YTEPP 9 months CVQ Level 1
YTEPP 6 months NEC assistant craft's man certificate
MIC 2 years NEC Technician
1 years Journey man Craft Certificate
UTT 2 years Technician
UTT 4 years BSc Engineering, Fashion Design, Agriculture, etc
UWI/USC 3 years BSc Engineering, Human Ecology, etc

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

Vocational qualifications in Trinidad and Tobago are divided into two categories:

  • Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs) are consistent with the levels articulated within the regional Caribbean qualifications framework. In order to obtain a CVQ students are assessed in specific skill areas; and
  • Trinidad and Tobago National Vocational Qualifications (TTNVQ) are developed in close collaboration with experts from industry and reflect industry's performance standards and needs. The TTNVQ is a national qualification and assesses competences for the world of work. Candidates are assessed under actual workplace conditions and there is more emphasis on competency-based assessment.
The CVQ and TTNVQ have five levels; Level 1 is the introductory level and Level 5 the highest level. The levels are determined according to occupational standards established by the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA). Occupational standards are defined as the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for effective workplace performance. The CVQ and TTNVQ are as follows:

Level 1 Entry-level Worker Pre-Craft
Level 2 Supervised Skilled Worker Craft
Level 3 Independent Skilled Worker Technician
Level 4 Specialised Worker Professional
Level 5 Managerial or Professional Worker Chartered or Advanced Professional
The Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) service – administered by the National Training Agency (NTA) – recognises individual‘s acquired skills and knowledge in formal, non-formal and informal learning settings and awards professional certifications (CVQs and TTNVQ).

Quality assurance

In the secondary schools, the National Training Agency (NTA) operates in an advisory capacity to administrators and teachers. The certification of students at the secondary schools is the responsibility of the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).


  • CANTA (2014). Occupation Standards. Accessed: 08.09.2014.
  • National Training Agency (2014). Vocational qualifications. Accessed: 08.09.2014.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2010). World Data on Education VII Ed. 2010/11. Trinidad and Tobago. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

The Education Sector Strategic Plan 2011-2015 reflects Trinidad and Tobago’s national education development agenda, as well the country’s commitments to achieving the Education for All (EFA) objectives. The Plan identified three main goals: (1) design and develop a quality education system; (2) restructure the Ministry of Education; and (3) engage stakeholders in the change and transformation process. Specifically the Plan sets a number of TVET related objectives, including:

  • Expand TVET programmes in the secondary education level, with emphasis on the Carribean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs);
  • Develop TVET policy to support the implementation of CVQs in all secondary schools;
  • Enhance the quality of TVET programmes by conducting teacher training programmes in allignment with ministerial priorities;
  • Develop a strategy to attract and retain qualified and experiences teachers and trainers; and
  • Improve the capacity of TVET institutions by conducting an audit to determine the equipment required to implement CVQs.
The Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training is also developing the Agenda for Tertiary Education and Skills Training Policy Considerations for the period 2015-2025 which will guide TVET policy developments in Trinidad and Tobago.


According to the Policy on Tertiary Education, Technical Vocational Education and Training, and Lifelong Learning in Trinidad and Tobago, TVET in Trinidad and Tobago faces a number of challenges, including to:

  • Link TVET programmes to the needs of an increasingly technologically-oriented economy;
  • Harmonise the number of qualifications offered so as not to cause confusion for the public, the business sector, and industry. In particular, the number of qualifications has made it difficult to asses the credit value of some programmes;
  • Develop a coherent national TVET system in order to ensure that there is no overlap in the curriculum;
  • Improve the literacy, numeracy, communication and life skills of students in order to help individuals successfully transition from secondary to post-secondary and tertiary education, or enter into the workforce;
  • Improve the quality of teachers at the tertiary education and training level; and
  • Encourage high-quality but less labour-intensive teaching and learning strategies, including distance education and resource-based learning.


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7. Statistical information(*)

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations


Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2015-10-01
Validated by: University of Trinidad and Tobago

page date 2017-05-05

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