In its quest to promote an increased level of South-South cooperation, the Government of Colombia hosted a regional meeting for Caribbean countries from July 8th -15th, 2017 to present a framework called the Colombian Cooperation Strategy with Caribbean countries.
This regional meeting allowed Caribbean countries to learn more about an education model for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which has proven to be a major success in Colombia.
The objectives of this regional meeting were specifically to elaborate and develop double-track cooperation projects on relevant topics, develop a work plan for carrying out the methodological and technological transference, and conduct site visits of some National Service Training (SENA) centres to facilitate the exchange of best practices.
Ever since its introduction sixty (60) years ago, the SENA education model on Technical, Vocational Education and Training has brought about the establishment of various learning centres, which play an integral role in the economic, social and cultural dimensions of community life throughout the different regions of Colombia.
The focus of these SENA centres have largely been determined by the respective developmental needs of these distinct regions of the country.
All across the country, the SENA education model has been building bridges between talent and entrepreneurial opportunities through offering diverse skills training programmes to the people of Colombia.
Owing to its successful record, the SENA education model has therefore been perceived as a sound basis upon which the Government of Colombia could pursue greater bilateral South-South cooperation with Caribbean countries for mutual sustainable growth and development.
Saint Lucia was represented at this Regional Meeting by Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Allison Jean, who expressed much gratitude to the APC Colombia, which was the agency that made it possible for such exposure.
PS Jean, who is also the Chairperson of the National Skills Development Centre (NSDC), noted that the SENA Model is closely aligned to the NSDC, and as such the experience and cooperation could enhance the product offerings that could help further develop Saint Lucian citizens.
As a result, a request has been made to APC Colombia to provide technical support to Saint Lucia in the areas of agro-processing; hospitality; and ICT training.
It is hoped that the enhancement of the NSDC education model would continue to promote social transformation through technical and technological training which has enabled many Saint Lucians to participate in the productive sector.