More than 20 local entrepreneurs learned how to improve and manage the quality of their products during a five-day workshop organised by the Trade and Quality Infrastructure Division.
The comprehensive Quality Management Systems (QMS) Training ran from June 12th to 16th in the Conference Room of the Montserrat Cultural Centre and attracted attendees including light manufacturers of food and non-food products, as well as agricultural producers in crop production.
According to a government release, the aim of the training was to enhance the understanding and implementation of internationally recognized certification standards among Montserrat’s private sector companies.
At the Opening Ceremony, Acting Premier Dr. Samuel Joseph emphasized the importance of quality development in his remarks and the impact of good quality management systems required to enter the export market. Meanwhile, Mr. Terry Hutchinson, Project Officer attached to this project, delivered a compelling presentation at the ceremony, highlighting the benefits, impacts and various features of this project.
“The objective of this training was to equip private sector companies with a solid understanding of internationally recognized standards and certification processes. By encouraging conformity to appropriate standards, the aim is to improve the quality and competitiveness of Montserrat’s products and services, while boosting consumer confidence. The training emphasized quality control, quality assurance, and best practice for packaging and labelling,” the release noted.
The visiting contingent included Stephen Farquharson, the Technical Officer responsible for Accreditation and Conformity Assessment and Patrine Hinds, Project Assistant from CROSQ, along with Gem Reynolds-Hutchinson, Standards Development Manager from the Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards. Sheryl Anderson, an experienced consultant from Quality Systems Solution & Initiatives (QSSI) Global, based in Jamaica, skillfully conducted the Foundational Training in Quality Management Systems. QSSI Global is an ISO 9001:2015 certified organization, specializing in various courses related to quality control, root cause analysis, and food safety. Their expertise and insights contributed significantly to the training sessions.
The team also visited the Ministry of Agriculture, where Minister Crenston Buffonge and his technical team, led by Dr. Selvyn Maloney, outlined plans for an Agro-processing Facility. Valuable guidance and advice were provided, including layout considerations and the implementation of good food safety standards.
The QMS Training is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the quality of goods and services produced in Montserrat. It also serves as additional support to the participants of the Produced in Montserrat Expo-PRIME which will be hosted in July.
The training was funded through the CARICOM Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) with financial support from the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Component of the EDF 11 Fund.