May 25, 2021

NorQuest expands international training in the Caribbean

NorQuest College, in partnership with College of the North Atlantic, Newfoundland, is working with postsecondary institutions and employers in the Caribbean to provide education that will lead to enhanced support for persons with disabilities.

NorQuest expands international training in the Caribbean

NorQuest’s work is a part of the Skills to Access the Green Economy Program (SAGE), the focus of which is to help Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, and St. Lucia become more resilient by supporting demand-driven technical and vocational education training (TVET) in key economic sectors associated with climate change in the Caribbean.

NorQuest will focus on providing support to integrate persons with disabilities into TVET training programs and employment. The project provides information on the supports presently available in each country and works with partners to develop strategies to address gaps and institutions and workplaces.

“Our focus is to help the institutions build supports for individuals with visible and invisible disabilities,” says Angela Wilm, Instructor, Community Studies, who is a consultant for the project.

“This is important work, as the message from the UN is leave no one behind. The work also focuses on creating awareness that people with disabilities can be participating members in any society. There is still a lot of stigma, discrimination, and lack of awareness about people who show ‘differences’. NorQuest has a proven and successful track record in supporting individuals who have been marginalized, which includes people with exceptionalities, and we’re very happy to share our expertise.”

Ultimately, the consultancy will work with local partners to develop strategies and tools to fill any existing gaps in the recruitment, screening, and supports processes for learners with disabilities and develop accessibility supports based on principles of Universal Design for Learning. Students with exceptionalities will be helped into the labour market through a series or academic programming with accommodations and a work experience placement.

The project got underway in March 2021, with two workshops that explored supporting disabilities and guiding participants through a reflective process on what their institutions currently have in terms of resources and assist with developing best practices in the future.

“We had about 100 attendees from all six countries at the workshops, which was very exciting,” says Angela. “This exchange of ideas will help institutions focus on supporting students with exceptionalities, and problem-solving as a region to address common challenges.”

SAGE’s broader aims are to increase the capacity of local training institutions to deliver gender-sensitive skills training programs that meet economic and environmental needs in the region, by leveraging the expertise of Canadian colleges and institutes. It also encourages the participation of adolescent girls and women, youth and vulnerable populations in demand-driven TVET fields.

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