KINGSTON — A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been entered into by Jamaica College (JC) and the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) to formalise collaboration on educational and training initiatives focused on seafaring and related disciplines.
Through the arrangement, the high school students will be sensitised about careers in maritime and related areas, and provided with access to a specialised vocational programmes, including simulator training, marine engineering, and seamanship experience.
The aim is to “open up an exciting range of career choices in one of the few sectors now offering thousands of job opportunities worldwide,” the MoU dispatch indicated.
Principal of JC, Ruel Reid, speaking at the signing ceremony held at JC's Karl Hendrickson Auditorium on November 25, said the initiative is in keeping with the school’s efforts to integrate academic studies with technical and vocational education and training.
He informed that already “we have established a robotics programme and a flying school, and now we are expanding into the whole field of maritime skills”.
Positioning the alliance within the context of national development, Mr. Reid observed that the “seafaring and related career areas are especially relevant with the planned expansion of the Port of Kingston, and the potential for employment of over 70,000 seafarers, who are needed worldwide. We want to expose our students to these cutting edge technologies. We want to enlighten them, to empower them to effectively compete with the best in the world."
Executive Director of the CMI, Fritz Pinnock, said that the arrangement will open students to exciting new career choices in a field that offers numerous job opportunities.
He stated that there is a global shortage of officers to staff international ships and recent studies by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) indicate that this shortage will increase to 83,000 by 2015.
The MoU formally designates Jamaica College a feeder school for the CMI. Under the arrangement, students will be groomed from first form in the various maritime-related disciplines and sensistised about new and emerging careers opportunities.
Senior students interested in marine and related sciences will be guided in their subject choices, and those who have confirmed career choices in these areas, will begin vocational training on the school campus and at the Institute located at Palisadoes Park.
Jamaica College has the distinction of being the first secondary school in the island to forge this relationship with CMI, although the Institute has some 50 strategic partnerships with a range of interests.
The MOU also provides for the training of deans of discipline in schools across the island, and partnership in alternative energy and engineering projects, an area in which the CMI has long been contributing through practical research and community outreach projects.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter