IIRQ 2017 Graduation Ceremony
An entrenched culture of poor customer service in the country might be the reason the majority of the Institute of International Recognized Qualification (IIRQ) graduating class of 2017 failed the course.
This is according to principal of the institution Professor Gossett Oliver.
Addressing the graduation at the UWI Mona Visitors’ Lodge on Thursday, Professor Oliver reported that while the school achieved an 80 per cent pass in Level 2 IT Systems and Support – PC Maintenance, 93 per cent pass in Level, Health and Safety, and 79 per cent in Level 3 Engineering Principles, the pass rate for Level 2 Business Skills – Principles of Customer Service, was a paltry 36 per cent.
Professor Oliver noted that much of the customer service syllabus deals with soft skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. But, he observed, professional customer service is a perennial problem in Jamaica because many Jamaicans lack soft skills.
“If you don’t have this soft skill to say, ‘Good morning, Sir or Ma’am’, or getting up off a seat in the bus to give someone who is need of it, it doesn’t matter how good of an engineer or nurse you are. We don’t have those graces or soft skills anymore, and customer service requires those soft skills,” Professor Oliver chided the graduates.
In an effort to address this growing need, Professor Oliver says the institution has been providing personal development classes which is one of the mandates of the Ministry of Education’s Career Advancement Programme (CAP).
However, he noted that students are attending the classes poorly.
When I go past a class, I see that a class that is supposed to have 15 only has five students attending because they think it is not important. ‘I’m here to do culinary art, so why him a tell mi about all this ‘soft’ business’, but it (the class) is very, very important,”said Professor Oliver while adding that the faculty members might have to hold hands and seek divine intervention.
Since April the Government has been pushing for world-class customer service delivery through its Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Division. The division which was created to streamline activities aimed at boosting government efficiency, has been conducting service excellence visioning workshops with various ministries, departments and agencies.
Meanwhile, Nicole McLaren-Campbell, guest speaker at Thursday’s graduation, echoed the principal’s call for students to take personal development classes more seriously. Campbell, who is CEO of AIM Educational Services and a Career & Education columnist, encouraged the students to make more investments in themselves.
“Talent and skills are not all. There is no investment in yourself and brain that is ever wasted. Never! It doesn’t exist. I have had to make a lot of investments in myself and you should too,” she advised. Over 160 students from IIRQ’s Kingston and Montego Bay locations marched on Thursday with certificates from City and Guilds and the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) in a range of courses.
The institution offers the Ministry of Education’s CAP programme which focuses on providing opportunities for all learners (ages 16-18) to identify, understand, choose, and prepare for careers and occupations of their choices.