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West: Scholarship winners can’t find jobs

Thursday, February 22, 2018
Allyson West

Although Government gives out hundreds of scholarships annually many graduates can’t find jobs and Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West says the problem must be addressed given the number of vacancies in the public sector.

There is also concern that poor remuneration packages might be stymieing the chances of the public service to attract the best talent available.

West, a member of the Joint Select Committee (JSC) on Social Services and Public Administration, suggested that the education of young people be merged with the needs of the public service “so we have a plan when they emerge from their studies.”

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Joan Mendez agreed.

“In terms of a human resource strategy, we need to take those persons who have been on scholarships,” she said.

The issue came up during a meeting of the JSC yesterday. Among those weighing in was Savitri Balkaran, of the Public Management Consulting Division of the Ministrty of Public Administration, who said discussions have been taking place with the Ministry of Education

Balkaran said the needs of the Scholarship Division have been identified and a survey will be done.

“The results will go back to the Ministry of Education to advise on what the needs are and the areas that scholarships should be awarded in,” she said.

Mendez suggested collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Labour to decide on programmes and areas of study.

“Do we need people to take up scholarships that will take them to the Moon, because sometimes you see people go into areas that are probably not needed in Trinidad and Tobago, like Aeronautics, Aeronautical Engineering.

“You know you going to be losing that person to the US or some sort of programmes because we may not have those sort of programmes of jobs,” she said.

Mendes said there is need to ensure that scholarships provided are “guiding and leading students to areas where there are needs.”

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan expressed concern that the public service is failing to attract the best and the brightest because of remuneration.

“If we have to get efficient it cannot be that we settling for anybody who will accept the salary,” he said


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