The performance of many organizations today is challenged by several internal and external operating factors. To survive in our highly competitive and dynamic global market, all the factors of an organization’s operation must be managed and monitored in such a way that the business realizes high productivity and long-term benefits. One fundamental factor of an organization’s operations is its human resource. Having professional employees is a valuable asset in strengthening and maintaining an organization’s growth and objectives.
In any meaningful discussion on professionalism, words such as competence, efficiency, skill and quality of work are certain to emerge. Some may characterize professionalism primarily as working well and dressing smartly. However, others may take a profound posture on professionalism as the skills and qualifications that employees are expected to possess. One such
qualification available to employees and prospective employees in Saint Lucia and the region is the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ).
This qualification is an award that represents the achievement of a set of competences that define the core work practices of an occupational area, consistent with the levels articulated within the regional qualifications framework. This award signifies that the individual has demonstrated a level of achievement and competence measured against established industry criteria or standards.
To earn the award, candidates must demonstrate competence in reaching occupational standards that have been approved by CARICOM and developed by practitioners, employers and other industry experts.
The benefits to be derived by employers, employees, and job-seekers from the CVQ include:
1. Improved services:
• Within any organization, employees who possess CVQs are validated in their area of expertise. The employees’ increased standard of performance injects into the organization an overall improvement in the delivery of quality service to customers. This enhances the organization’s reputation as satisfied customers would not hesitate to boast of receiving quality service from qualified professionals. Productivity within the organization is also improved as certified employees often work more competently and efficiently than uncertified colleagues, and their presence can help improve the productivity of team projects.
2. Confidence building:
• Employees who possess CVQs have a confidence boost, higher self-esteem and more pride in themselves. This has the domino effect of increased motivation. When employee motivation increases, problems such as absenteeism at work decrease, and more productive practices become noticeable. These employees stand better chances of promotion with better pay and more sustainable employment. Of note, too, is the fact that since employees of all ages can acquire CVQs, regardless of educational background, older employees without other qualifications can be more confident in what they do. The sense of value of these qualified employees, encourages them to remain committed to their jobs.
• Being better qualified increases financial stability and accelerates career advancement for the employee. The employee becomes more marketable and there is also increased industry recognition. There is more flexibility to move from one business to another as well as external validation and proven achievement that can be recognized and respected by prospective employers. Artisans are also able to move and work freely in the region.
4. Motivation to colleagues:
• Employees who acquire CVQs in a chosen industry demonstrate a commitment to continued learning, education and professional growth which can help motivate other employees and new entrants into the business to get qualified themselves. With such demonstration of professional pride among employees, there is a greater level of respect towards the qualified employees from their colleagues. This will augur well for an employer within any business sector or organization, as it can reduce employee turnover and cost associated to recruitment of new employees, when qualified personnel is required.
• CVQs are essential to job-seekers to prepare individuals for the world of work.
By and large, the Caribbean Vocational Qualification improves the efficiency and effectiveness of employees in industry, and businesses
as a whole. Individuals who receive this award are better poised to contribute to the achievement of their goals and those of an organization.
By Colvis Samuels (Education Officer at Ministry of Education, TVET Council)