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OECS Skills for Inclusive Growth Program

September 2, 2014

World Bank Group

With Bank support Saint Lucia and Grenada trained and certified more than 2,000 unemployed youth with regionally and internationally recognized certification, established a policy and institutional framework for delivering quality skills training, introduced industry-vetted regionally recognized occupational standards and a quality assurance system.


Youth unemployment (over 30 percent) imposed a high cost to society as a result of increased risks of deviant behavior and foregone earnings.  Young people in OECS countries, particularly the poor, faced structural barriers to enter labor markets, including insufficient education, life  and job skills.  At the same time enhancing the efficiency of labor markets was an important regional priority, as increasing movement of artisans and skilled persons across the Caribbean Community was seen as a crucial element to the success of the incipient Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME). In this context, the Caribbean region had taken steps to provide the human capital foundation for economic growth and integration, including adopting a Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQ) framework that sets common standards and recognition of technical and vocational qualifications throughout the region and alignment of technical and vocational training (TVET) with workplace demands.


The OECS Skills for Inclusive Growth Program was designed to work with the private sector to address the skills shortage as well as the policy and institutional framework to deliver skills to disadvantaged unemployed youth.  Support for life skills (including basic literacy and numeracy, socio-emotional or non-cognitive skills also known as productivity enhancement training) and vocational  training (both classroom and on-the-job internships) and certification for unemployed youth based on industry approved occupational standards. The quality of training would be enhanced through establishment of a policy framework for training, including the introduction of competency-based standards.

" Under the Program, I received training in basic life skills and technical training in customer service, and an internship at a nutritional bookstore, after which obtained regional and international certification in customer service. The Program fully transformed my life, not only by making me employable but also by giving me a sense of self-worth "

Lauren Burno



  •  Established an industry-vetted, regionally recognized occupational standards framework that supports improvement of the quality and relevance of technical and vocational education in Saint Lucia and Grenada. Both Saint Lucia and Grenada were authorized by the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) to issue regional certifications, which is an independent endorsement of the robustness of the newly established occupational standards framework in each of these countries.
  • Supported a total of 2,030 unemployed youth to obtain training and regional (Caribbean Vocational Qualifications –CVQs) and international recognized certification in competency-based skills thus facilitating the free movement of labor across the CSME.
  • Acquired a total of 175 industry-vetted occupational standards
  • Certified 130 assessors as part of the quality assurance framework

" The Project allowed us to build a technical and vocational education and training system that is going to last. Going forward it will have an impact on skilled working being able to access job opportunities regionally. "

Lincoln Morgan

Chief Executive Officer, Grenada National Training Agency.


The two countries collaborated with Caribbean Association for National Training Agencies (CANTA) to acquire regional occupational standards;  517 private sector companies that provided internships to trainees;  Caribbean Institute of International Hospitality Management (CIIHM), the American Hotel and Lodging Education Institute (AHLEI) and Monroe College provided international qualifications in the areas related to hospitality.

Moving Forward

In the case of Grenada, the training model supported under the Program has been replicated under the New Imani Program, one of the flagship programs in the Country. Trainees will be required to apply for CVQ certification. In the case of Saint Lucia, the Ministry of Education has decided to continue the integration of competency-based training program into all training programs offered by the National Skills Development Center (NSDC) as well as TVET education at the secondary level, thus making progress toward mainstreaming the skills development model supported under the Program.

unemployed youth were trained and obtained regionally and internationally recognized qualifications.