As the higher value-added industries are established, new and more complex demands are made on humans during performance. To deliver these skills Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is required for workforce development (WFD) and training an internationally competitive and flexible workforce equipped to meet the growing demands of the industry. This phenomenon opened the door for numerous changes in the workplace and consequently a developing workforce: management in this 21st century will depend on three fundamentals: leadership, process and organization (Chowdhury 2000).
Shackelton (1995), defines leadership as the process in which an individual influences other group members towards the attainment of organizational leadership goals. Leaders need to communicate their vision of the future and strategies so that the workforce understands and agrees with it, and appeal to their needs and values, so that they may overcome barriers to change. Chattell (1995), suggests that tomorrow's leaders need to be capable of handling dynamic agendas of possibilities and see the future as discoverable rather than predictable. Whatever leadership style is required by the challenge or challenges facing the organization, an effective leader needs to understand his or her emotional make-up and that of others in order to move the workforce toward goal achievement.
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This has distinct implication for TVET within the organization. Effective leaders must become a catalyst in encouraging organizational innovation and in creating the dynamic spirit that characterises a successful organization. Finding the best fit of people and culture is critical to maximising individual productivity and creativity as well as organization overall success.
Leaders in T&T should become more democratic and open in decision making and adopt the 21st century leadership style (transformational leader). In TVET systems and workforce development leaders must mobilise support to ensure that there is a well trained and multi skilled workforce.
Training institutions such as MIC, NESC, UTT and UWI must be able to develop team building, instil moral values and foster citizenship within the institution and amongst their students. Educators, policy makers and business leaders of these institutions should also possess 21st century skills: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Leaders of the future should be bold enough to give equal attention to both hard issues (structure, system, and technology) and soft ones (people and culture).
According to the McGraw-Hill dictionary, a process is a system or series of continuous or regularly occurring actions taking place in a predetermined or planned manner to produce a desired result. A process strategy is an organization's approach to transforming resources into goods and services. (Heizer & Render, 2004).
Process is the main linkage between input and output of a system; whether it is demand driven, supply lead, open or closed loop, it is the 'heart beat' of the system. The process should focus on core practices. Chowdhury (2000), identified four critical areas that will have significant impact on the 21st century organization: Grassroots education, fire prevention, direct interaction and effective globalisation. Education should involve training of the entire staff without discrimination from the chairman to the worker on the factory floor. 21st century customers demand perfection and uniqueness in products and superior service in connection with these products. Essentially organizations need to respond to different markets by adopting products, services and processes to local requirements.
During the 19th century industries such as Hydro Agri, Petrotrin and Phoenix Gas in Trinidad & Tobago were using analogue equipment to control processes. Operators used tacit knowledge and the processes to tune loops, monitor and control variables to minimise disturbances in the process. With new and emerging technology, proportional, integral, and derivatives (PID) controllers are used to monitor, control and trend early disturbances and make adjustments to maintain set point of the process variable. With this technology industry can now monitor sophisticated processes with little downtime and optimum efficiency.
Workforce development in Trinidad & Tobago can adopt this concept of PID controllers by implementing strategies to manage the forces of supply and demand. Competency Assurance Management Systems (CAMS) is an established system which identifies the methods and procedures employed to ensure that employees/trainees develop the awareness, skill and knowledge to perform competently at the specified work location. This system can be used as a vital tool in workforce development to strengthen innovation, ensure technological readiness and labour market efficiency.
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To compete in this era as a training provider, Metal Industries Company (MIC) must be capable of moving more quickly, streamlining their decision-making and improving their responsiveness. The process of transformation is not merely a question of developing a new vision but involves careful development and nurturing of new outlooks, systems and activities which when fully mature will radically alter the institutional landscape and its contributions to TVET systems and WFD.
The Oxford Dictionary defines organization as a coming together of people for a purpose. Organizations coming together of people provide structure and order to tasks performed to serve the needs of others because the environment dictates that co-operation is necessary.
To remain competitive, an organization should constantly evaluate its values and practices to ensure they are aligned with corporate strategy. In a constantly changing corporate world, organizations clearly need to be capable of adapting these behaviours if they are to sustain a competitive advantage. An organization that is firmly stuck in past behaviour patterns is doomed to failure. People who understand the dynamics of change and who realise the tremendous opportunities inherent in a proactive stance will be winners in this world of discontinuities.
In the 21st century, the organization must undergo transformation in its strategy and structures. Firms must become more "flexible" in order to adapt swiftly to changes in technology and the market place (Atkinson, 1985). Organizations operating in T&T have to be cognizant of all the changes in the global workplace in order to remain competitive. TVET will play a vital role in WFD within the organization. The workplace must now go beyond the snap-shot panaceas which seek to impose the correct design or 'fit' and move towards a more holistic approach if they are to overcome these challenges and remain world leaders.
The world has identified T&T as a developing nation, requiring a unique kind of 21st century citizen in the workplace who must, among other things, be innovative, entrepreneurial, community-oriented, civic-minded, ethical, capable of critical thinking and creatively confronting the plethora of challenges that present itself. Communication is a vital skill that is needed in any working relationship. Traditionally, management adopted a top down approach to communicate with employees. However, with the advent of the global economy and the dynamics of the new workplace, organizations are now predisposed to adopt a more holistic communication style and encourage employees to be more participative.
Foreign and local companies in T&T such as Beyond Petroleum (BP) and Petrotrin have also changed their job titles from 'Managers' to 'Team Leaders' to encourage teamwork and integration of sophisticated business culture in the workplace. MIC has also invested in foreign training and new technology and training programmes that will create the condition for innovation and led growth. Organizations need to constantly reassess their workforce, ensure that there are varied skill levels, depth of expertise and shift emphasis.
As the needs of industry continue to evolve and expand, the role of TVET and WFD within Trinidad and Tobago's industrial development focus must similarly be transformed. For many years, TVET and WFD have been emphasized as an effective mechanism to eliminate or mitigate against the many social and structural challenges faced by organisations vulnerability. The re-branding of WFD and repositioning of TVET as a tool in the process of sustainable economic development though, has emerged as a realistic and practical expectation. WFD requires a more responsive TVET system. In order to achieve this there should be greater alignment between WFD and the TVET systems.
Lifelong learning with a quality education and WFD system is needed for the industry. T&T has entered into international agreements, drafted new legal frame work, standards, guidelines and procedures towards achieving a 21st century workforce. The implementation of these global policies would result in changes and adjustment in organisations strategies, leadership styles and business processes.
For rapid economic and competitive advantage in the today's world market, leaders in T&T must articulate problems and solve them before they come into fruition rather than find a solution when the problems arises. In order to remain competitive organisations should evaluate its value and practise to ensure they are aligned with global strategy. Process will need to be monitored, controlled and evaluated for high quality output to ensure international requirements and standards are met. This would position T&T to meet the challenges of rapid technological advancement and increasing competition both internationally and regionaly. Once T&T can monopolise on the benefits of knowledge based economy through an effective WFD and TVET system, the country is on its way to achieving developed status and greater economic success.
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