Career & Education

Reid hails CMU for training 21stcentury workforce

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid has commended the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) for its commitment to training a highly skilled workforce to meet the needs of the labour market in the 21st century.

The Minister, who was delivering the keynote address at CMU's 2018 graduation ceremony Thursday last at the Jamaica Conference Centre noted that the university has a special role to play in reframing Jamaica's higher education landscape.

“We are now in the middle of this 21st century fourth industrial revolution that requires more technical jobs. Ninety per cent of job functions are now technical, and so you need higher levels of training and certification in technical areas. So the Jamaican education system has to be recalibrated quickly to adapt to the emerging needs of our economy to facilitate the growth spurt that has begun,” he said.

“I have given them a clear mandate, and this is why I spend so much time and resources on the CMU, because you are far more agile… to take us to that destination where we want to be,” Reid added.

CMU president, Professor Fritz Pinnock, said the university is “equal to the task” of equipping students with the necessary skills to meet labour market demands.

He cited a Statistical Institute of Jamaica report which showed that of the 1.3 million people in the labour force, 900,000 are unskilled and uncertified.

“With less than 40 per cent of university graduates across the Caribbean being absorbed into the workforce within six months after graduation, this speaks to the urgent need for retooling and recalibration of the higher-education sector,” Pinnock argued.

Professor Pinnock cited opportunities for training through the recently launched FESTO Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre, noting that two cohorts of unattached youth are currently being trained at the state-of-the-art facility which delivers international certification in industrial automation and mechatronics.

The centre, which is the largest to be established globally, has the capacity to train and certify more than 4,000 students annually. It is the result of a partnership between the CMU and globally renowned German training institute Festo Didactic.

Some 350 students were conferred with master's, bachelor's and associate degrees as well as diplomas at Thursday's graduation. Among the programmes they successfully completed were logistics and supply chain management; cruise shipping and maritime tourism management; international shipping and logistics; customs processes, freight forwarding and immigration; security administration and management, and nautical science.

Others in attendance at the ceremony included CMU chancellor Drolor Bosso Adamtey I; permanent secretary in the education ministry, Dean-Roy Bernard; chief education officer Dr Grace McLean, and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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