ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 88 Number 4
Employment preparation, competencies and job satisfaction of diploma agriculture graduates in Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. (244)
Agriculture is once more on the agenda of national governments and regionally it has undergone some dramatic changes in recent years. These changes are mostly due to global demands for reforms on production and marketing practices to ensure that food is safe for consumers and not produced in a manner that harms the environment. As the region tries to respond, there have been calls for The School of Agriculture of the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Agriculture and Forestry (ECIAF) in Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies to revise its curriculum to meet demands for agricultural development not only in Trinidad and Tobago but the entire Caribbean. This study examined the extent to which the training provided to graduates, is empowering them to support goals of national food and nutrition security. One hundred recent graduates were randomly selected from a list provided by the ECIAF of graduates in the last 5 years and interviewed. The instrument consisted mainly of closed ended questions and rating scales which sought to assess respondents’ perceptions of the training they received, relevance of the training received to present job functions, changes in technical competencies over time and their level of job satisfaction. The instrument was pretested among 10 graduates and modified based on comments. It was administered over a two month period in 2010. Data were analyzed using SPSS V.17 and described. Means comparisons tests and categorical regression analyses were also done to explore relationships with Job satisfaction. The main findings were that: level of technical preparation was the most important variable determining Job satisfaction; graduates perceived they were adequately prepared in the traditional areas of agriculture (crops, livestock and soils) but were under prepared for new areas required for food production in a modern environment (sustainable production, food safety and value addition); while Job competencies increased over time in all technical areas examined, there were significantly higher changes in the newer food production areas compared to the traditional areas. The major recommendation was that the ECIAF and other agricultural education institutions urgently engage stakeholders constructively and review their curricula to meet requirements for agricultural development in a modernized environment.
Keywords: agriculture; curriculum; job competencies; job preparation; job satisfaction