Some 28 final year officer cadets from the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) created history on Friday (February 26) when they became the first batch of students to graduate from a one-week course on ‘Mastering Yacht Life’.
The programme, which is jointly offered by the Heart Trust/NTA, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), CMI and the Luxury Yacht Group, seeks to expose seafarers to further training in order to enable them to operate effectively and efficiently aboard luxury yachts.
Executive Director of the CMI, Mr. Fritz Pinnock, addressing the graduation ceremony held at the Institute’s Palisadoes Park headquarters, said the course attempted to develop the “soft skills” of the participants, as luxury yachts called for the finer skill sets that are not a regular part of the officer training programme at CMI.
He also had words of encouragement for the graduates whom, he said, were pioneers in their own right as the first group of students to successfully complete the course.
Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness (right) greets Independent Yacht Captain, Brendon Thayer, moments before the start of the graduation and closing ceremony of a one-week course in ‘Mastering Yacht Life’ at the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) in Kingston on Friday (February 26). Looking on is CMI Executive Director, Fritz Pinnock.
“Life is a race, and only the fittest will survive,” he told the cadets. “Getting a piece of paper today is not a passport to a yacht; you have to package your personality with your academic credentials. This experience as a seafarer is about a total person,” he advised.
Director of Enterprise-Based Training at the HEART Trust/NTA, Mr. Winston Fletcher, said for Jamaica to “function effectively in this global village our human resource must be transformed into human capital, and one way of doing this, is through training and certification.”
He told the graduates that as seafarers, their technical competence, although very necessary, was not sufficient to make them optimally relevant in this competitive climate.
“It is important that you see to the development of the softer skills, those are the ones that are going to make you employable. And so your programme of study in ‘Mastering Yacht Life’ was specially tailored to do just that – close the gaps between your technical skills and the softer enabling skills,” he said.
Mr. Fletcher further told the graduates that “because of this training, you’re all poised to be better equipped to transition seamlessly into the yachting industry. Your (National Vocational Qualification) NVQ certificate that you are about to receive provides you with great leverage. It will enable you to compete and remain relevant in this dispensation.
“Your NVQ, like hard currency, is legal tender both locally and internationally. It is recognised by CARICOM and all Commonwealth states.”
Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, also congratulated the graduates on their accomplishment and encouraged them to be ambassadors for Jamaica as they embarked on their careers as seafarers.
“The majority of graduates today will probably not work in Jamaica. You will be exported to some other area to work and it is the education that you receive in Jamaica, along with the culture of Jamaica that will carry the brand of Jamaica, that will make other persons come to Jamaica to find well trained, skilled personnel to go back to other jurisdictions to work,” he said.
“So, you are all ambassadors and the country has invested, through HEART, in your training and you have a duty to put out the best possible,” he added.