JIS: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Wednesday (September 19), officially opened the region’s first Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Kingston.
The state-of-the-art facility, which will deliver international certification in industrial automation and mechatronics, is the result of a partnership between the CMU and globally renowned German training institute, Festo Didactic.
The Centre, which is the largest to be established globally, has the capacity to train and certify more than 4,000 students annually.
Prime Minister Holness, who delivered the keynote address, said the facility’s development is consistent with Jamaica’s commitment “to develop our human resources, so [that] they are second to none and to develop our institutions, so that they are modern and internationally competitive”.
He noted that the world is on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, which integrates physical, digital and biological technologies, and the scope and complexity of transformation requires that “we must be cutting-edge and ensure that high standards are the norm and not the exception”.
He said the Centre will ensure that graduates are “instilled with analytical and creative habits of thinking and an aptitude for discernment and sound judgement that can guide them through a lifetime of achievement and success”.
“It is through equipping our human resources to be productive and competitive that we will attain the potential and will for positive growth and development,” he pointed out.
In his remarks, Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon, Ruel Reid, said the FACT Centre has provided the Caribbean with the largest cutting-edge engineering training capacity.
“The CMU, as we all know, has already soared to national, regional and international acclaim… and now partnering with Festo… will bring the university to even higher heights. I am confident that this addition to the CMU campus will yield fantastic results,” he added.
Festo Didactic Regional Director for the Americas, Dr. Theodoros Ktistakis, noted that the FACT Centre’s opening culminates six years of discussions with the CMU, and will provide training opportunities for young people in a “modern and motivating environment”.
He said that the training and certification that will be provided at the CMU, through the FACT Centre, “will have worldwide acceptance”.
“The training facility, which we inaugurate today, and the CMU’s team, which are trained and certified, are the guarantors that education and skills development correspond to international standards. Festo, as a long-time partner of CMU, will constantly support you and will be at your side,” he assured.
For his part, CMU President, Professor Fritz Pinnock, described the FACT Centre’s establishment, as a “journey with a vision”, adding that “this is only the beginning, as we [will be] leapfrogging into the future” through the training and certification provided.
Other key partners in the development of the FACT Centre include the PetroCaribe Development Fund, which provided US$402 million of the US$700-million-plus expenditure on the facility, and HEART Trust/NTA, which will partner with the CMU in programme delivery.
CAPTION: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (left), tries out a hydraulic training device in a laboratory at the Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre located at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Kingston. The occasion was a tour of the facility following its official opening on Wednesday (September 19). Looking on are Education, Youth and Information Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (right); and FACT-certified trainer, Ricardo Hopwood.