THE Caribbean Electric Utilities Corporation (CARILEC) has concluded a milestone initiative to upgrade occupational standards for electric line workers to National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) credential level. These Standards are critical to the process of continuous development, and to the standardization of training and certification in line with CARICOM Vocational Training (CVQ) credentials.
According to CARILEC’s Training Manager Laurena Primus, the CARILEC Line Worker programme holds major significance for the sector in the Caribbean region. As an NVQ credential, it facilitates the OECS Free Movement of Skills regime. At the CARICOM level, it facilitates the Free Movement of Goods and Services CSME regime, which promotes the removal of barriers to intra-regional movement and the harmonization of standards to ensure acceptability of goods and services traded. “In addition to establishing professional standards and accreditation for the industry in the region, the Standards will also fast track the process of pursuing CVQ accreditation, while also professionalizing the career of Caribbean line workers”, Ms Primus explained.
The competency-based programme covers five core thematic areas: Maintenance Basics, Overhead Distribution – De-Energized, Overhead Distribution – Energized, Underground (URD) and Transmission. It consists of instructors’ guide and a comprehensive student workbook containing 78 units – each highlighting OSHA regulation snapshots and field performance requirements, high-quality videos, prior learning assessment recognition, end of unit assessment, train-the-trainer, on the job training, field performance reports and final exams.
The St Lucia Technical Vocational Council collaborated with CARILEC to complete the Line worker Occupational Standards, which they formerly handed over to CARILEC during a brief ceremony on Friday October 25, 2019. The process of developing the standards began with the purchase of a generic off-the-shelf, four-year course spanning the entire range of linesman training from entry level to journeyman level. Thereafter CARILEC enlisted the expertise of the St Lucia Vocational Council and subject matter experts from LUCELEC to validate the material, and customize the Standards to the context of Caribbean Utilities realities.
CARILEC’s Executive Director Dr Cletus Bertin described the completion and formalization of occupational standards as “an important and timely milestone” for the CARILEC Linesman Programme. The programme was established in 2009 to assist CARILEC Member Utilities with the professional development of their lines workers and to simplify CARILEC’s disaster assistance efforts.
“Its value and timing can be best appreciated when viewed vis-à-vis the changing weather phenomenon, recent experiences of the devastation of electrical infrastructure and our response through the CARILEC Disaster Assistance Programme. In such instances meriting joint manpower support to a Member Unity, line workers have to work on electrical configurations that are different from those in their home country. A harmonized procedural approach is beneficial at many levels, not least among which is safety,” Dr Bertin said.