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OJT stipends increased

By MIRANDA LA ROSE Friday, January 17 2014

CABINET yesterday approved increases ranging from 20 to 25 percent on stipends of On-the-Job trainees (OJT). Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisssessar disclosed this at the launch of the OJT Global Programme involving 21 OJT trainees being interned at United Nations agencies in TT, and signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Microsoft TT to take on board an additional number of OJT trainees. The launch and signing took place at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

Signing the MOU were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Angela Sinaswee-Gervais and Country Manager for Microsoft TT Frances Correia.

According to Persad-Bissessar, Level One OJTs (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate/crafts graduates) will receive a 25 percent increase; Level Two (General Certificate of Education Advanced Level/Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination and Associate degree graduates) will receive a 20 percent increase; Level Three (undergraduate degree), a 25 percent increase; and Level 4 (post graduates), a 20 percent increase.

Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Fazal Karim told the media the increase was necessary to meet transportation and subsistence cost trainees will have. OJT trainees have not had an increase in stipends over the past five years.

The increase is expected to cost $33 million to the current budget which is about $300 million.

In brief remarks, Resident Coordinator of UN Agencies in TT Richard Blewitt said each year, UN internship programmes provide hundreds of young people from all over the world with opportunities for education, experience and exposure. The aim of the programme, he said is to develop the young interns into global citizens.

It is expected that the programme will provide the trainees with experience involving philosophies which guide social and economic development and international relations, and give them an insight into and knowledge and a practical understanding of how globalised the world has become and how international relationships are strengthened.

On the MOU between Microsoft TT and the ministry, Correia told Newsday its immediate effect will enable the company and 15 of its partners, the ministry and the National Training Agency to start defining and shaping the Information and Communication Technology programme. The training is due to get started in February with an initial intake of 30 OJT trainees.

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