The Occupational Research Unit (ORU) was created because of the need for comprehensive and reliable occupational data. Its original mandate was to develop a standardised national occupational classification system and compile a multi-purpose dictionary of occupations for Trinidad and Tobago.
This mandate was satisfied in 1992 with the publication of the Dictionary of Occupations for Trinidad and Tobago (DOTT). Before that, the Unit produced a number of interim booklets and handbooks relating to various occupational sectors.
The current role of the ORU is to update and maintain the national classification and the DOTT. This can be translated into the following functional areas:
THE DICTIONARY OF OCCUPATIONS FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
The DOTT is a tool for presenting information about the type of work which is performed in Trinidad and Tobago and forms part of the labour market information system. The DOTT is a 693-page document consisting of a classification and code structure and descriptions of occupations found in Trinidad and Tobago at the time of publication. It also includes an alphabetical index, sectoral indices which group occupations on the basis of the industrial sector in which they occur, a glossary of technical terms and a guide to the occupational profile.
The classification and coding system is modelled on the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) which places occupations into groups based on the criteria of work performed and the skill or ability necessary to carry out the relevant duties.
Occupational descriptions in the DOTT give information on occupational titles, worker duties, education, training and experience requirements and other factors relating to the performance of work. Descriptions are not specific to any one establishment but present an average picture of any given occupation unless the occupation is a unique one.
The DOTT is the product of several years of research conducted by members of the ORU. This research was carried out with the assistance of personnel from representative establishments in the public and private sectors, employers’ associations, trade unions and professional bodies across the country.
The DOTT serves as a common frame of reference to users but is designed to serve several operational and planning purposes. The classification and coding system facilitates manpower and statistical purposes. Detailed occupational groups and descriptions are useful for education and training activities, providing career guidance and identifying work hazards.
DOTT information can be used to:
UPDATING THE DOTT
Since publication of the DOTT in 1992, many changes have taken place in the workplace. Some are due to the external context such as new technology or new industrial agreements, others to changes in organisational context such organisational restructuring, yet others are due to changes in the actual structure and content of jobs. There is therefore a need to verify the relevance and accuracy of existing data and analyse new occupations which have come into existence. The Occupational Research Unit is therefore engaged in updating the DOTT.
Along with new content, there has been a change in the format of descriptions. Whereas older descriptions included a coded Occupational Profile, new descriptions include profiles with text rather than codes.
The updating and maintenance of a national classification of occupations must be considered an integral part of the attempt to modernise the education system and to continue being part of the holistic development of the young people of the nation.
It also falls within a broader national and regional need to develop the capacity for generating more reliable, timely and internationally comparable labour market information. This information must be current and usable if it is to be employed in macro-economic policy development and strategic planning.
For further information please contact:
OCCUPATIONAL RESEARCH UNIT
45 Pembroke St.,
Port of Spain.
Telephone/Fax:  627-3991