Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 6th 2015 Contents Now that the MIC Institute of Technology
has introduced industry-relevant training
mainly focused on the manufacturing sec-
tor, three MIC graduates said the training
would increase the competitive advantage
of the companies they are employed in
and will give them the opportunity to create a "learning"
According to the Harvard Business Review, a learning
organisation is one that is skilled at creating, acquiring and
transferring knowledge and at modifying its behaviour to
reflect new knowledge and insights. In other words, an
organisation which allows learning to take place during the
day-to-day operations of the business.
Prior to MIC offering training, there were complaints
from several members of the business community that,
even though students were graduating from tertiary-level
education institutions, they were not entering the workforce
with the training appropriate to the world of work.
In April, the MIC and the Ministry of Tertiary Education
and Skills Training toured manufacturing companies to
assess what were some of the complaints concerning labour.
One of the companies visited was Advance Foam Ltd
(AFL), which says that it is the largest producer of flexible
polyurethane foam and innerspring mattresses in the
Caribbean. AFL also holds the Caribbean licence for the
US brand of mattress called Serta.
The company signed a memorandum of understanding
in early April with MIC so its employees can further benefit
from the institution s training and any complaints of a
labour shortage would be addressed as well.
Advance Foam Ltd
Speaking with the Business Guardian after the July 21
graduation which was held at MIC s Century Drive head-
quarters, Rahul Lall, graduate and AFL employee, said the
training enhanced the knowledge gained from studying
engineering at the University of the West Indies.
"I am a mechanical engineer so this helps to blend the
knowledge I already have. It s a revision of some of the
things I learnt at UWI s St Augustine campus. It (the training)
was much more practical and realistic and now I have
adapted to the environment that I am working in."
Lall, who has been employed at AFL for a year and three
months, said UWI exposed the student to broad knowledge
of engineering while MIC s training focused on hands-on
"UWI provided broad training where you can go into any
industry, whereas the MIC training was focused on adapting
to what we were doing and actually seeing the knowledge
bear fruit in front of us. At UWI we were doing simulations
and observing it. The MIC way is more practical in that
as we write a program we try it out."
Asked whether he was satisfied with the method of teach-
ing, Lall said the instructors were very "patient."
"I felt as though I was doing something meaningful and
it wasn t just a classroom session. I can make my employers
be more competitive. I am trying to set up a training and
development sub-section in my company and in my depart-
ment. I hope I can carry the training back to my employers
and continue training with the technicians that I work
While the training was appropriate for AFL s employees
at the operation level, it was also appropriate for its man-
Rocky Mohammed, production manager at AFL for three
years, said the training would give him the opportunity to
pass on his knowledge to the employees in his department.
Without the MIC training, he said it would mean going
overseas to get training.
"This training would help me to train my maintenance
crew, also it will help with the troubleshooting, it will solve
a lot of problems in the factory that we ve had to pay a lot
of money to fix. The training would ensure we save money
because the staff would be trained."
Referring to his perceptions about MIC, he said: "I always
thought you would have come here and laze around and
learn a trade only. When I saw the professionalism and the
upgrade of the machinery, I was amazed and I thank my
employers for giving me the opportunity to achieve this."
AFL chairman Prem Nandlal said the training assists the
manufacturing sector since the companies in that sector
must be reliable and in order to be reliable they must have
"The manufacturing sector must have high reliability
because we use sophisticated machinery. The mattress
industry requires us to have the best equipment because
we are competing internationally. We are in an industry
where internationally our competitors have high-quality
AFL is an employer of 120 full-time employees and
another 100 that are part-time. The pattern of demand is
seasonal, Nandlal said. The high demand season is between
September and December when AFL "almost triples its
production around that time."
The international mattress manufacturers have expressed
a lot of confidence in his company to produce their quality
product, Nandlal said, and this means every aspect of the
production line must be of a high quality.
Asked whether MIC s training initiative has addressed
the issue of shortage in labour, Nandlal said: "it is con-
tributing to improving the skills level. I don t think, in our
case, because we get people and in two weeks they leave,
then we have to re-train. This training is of a high level
compared to the people who are already in the system for
a long time, we are upgrading their skills too. At the factory
level we are still seeing some shortages."
Nandlal added when the factory starts to expand, he plans
to hire semi-skilled workers so he can "build them up." He
said the two AFL representatives who participated in MIC s
training would be like, "train the trainers, so when new
people come in they are able to have training manuals and
would train new staff."
National Canners Ltd
Marvin Alexander, an industrial mechanic, said he learnt
about the benefits of mechatronics to the manufacturing
industry. Mechatronics is a field of engineering that includes
a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engi-
neering, telecommunications engineering, control engineering
and computer engineering.
Alexander said the training would help in, "troubleshooting
machines in terms of problems and also to find probable
solutions. If I didn t have this course, I would have to do
further research home, on Google and that does not give
you much practically as what this course does."
Carib Brewery Ltd
Rahim Mohammed, human resources manager of ANSA
McAL s beverage sector, said MIC s training expands the
company s knowledge-base in the context of the strategic
direction it wants the training of its employees to go.
"MIC s training provides new areas of training and focus,
it expands our talent pool, our initiative and our skill set
into our strategic focus in what we want to see and grow."
Other than the Carib Brewery Ltd, the company also has
two other brewery establishments located in Basseterre, St
Kitts and St George s, Grenada and plan to bring workers
from there to train at MIC.
"The plan is to partner with the ministry here, to utilise
T&T s training grounds, facilities and establishments here,
as being a world-class training facility to partner with this
sector which is the beverage sector and bring our skilled
and unskilled people to benefit from what is being offered
in T&T and then we take it back to those countries."
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 6 • 2015
MIC graduates give back by...
Creating a learning organisation
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