Thursday 9 April, 2020

Students, HEART trainees gain insight into emerging STEAM careers

Rene Flores (right), Director of the Festo Authorized & Certified Training (FACT) Centre of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), along with Marco McIntosh (centre) FACT Administrator at the CMU, engages a student at the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Conference held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston recently.

Rene Flores (right), Director of the Festo Authorized & Certified Training (FACT) Centre of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), along with Marco McIntosh (centre) FACT Administrator at the CMU, engages a student at the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Conference held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston recently.

Hundreds of students and HEART trainees from all over Jamaica grasped the opportunity to get exposure to hands-on demonstrations as well as new and emerging careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics on last Tuesday at the recently held STEAM Conference in Kingston.

The conference was a highlight of National Career Awareness Week (February 9 to 14) organized by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, the HEART/NSTA Trust and Junior Achievement Jamaica under the theme “Career Development: the Vehicle that Leads to Success.”

“Jamaica can take a leading role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Keynote Speaker Erica Simmons, Executive Director, Centre for Digital Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing (CDIAM) at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).

She said the current period of the Industrial Revolution is about Cyber-Physical Systems that include Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR); Robotics; Rapid Prototyping; Enterprise Information Systems Security (to counter Cyber Crimes), Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology and Space Technologies.

Simmons told the attentive audience “we are living in a time of disruption and digital transformation.”

She said this is also a period of great opportunity and that “emerging nations such as Jamaica have the most to gain because global access to knowledge has levelled the playfield.”

Simmons encouraged the students and trainees not to allow anyone to define them but to find their passion and pursue it by acquiring “future skills”.

She further revealed that the CMU is partnering with the HEART/NSTA Trust to develop future skills competency in areas that include Cyber-Physical Systems.

Lanisia Rhoden (left) CEO and Founder of Link Your Purpose, explains her displays to a curious onlooker at the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Conference.

Captain Dr Kasan Troupe, Chief Education Officer (Acting), Ministry of Education, Youth and Information also addressed the enthusiastic group of students and trainees.

She told them that the Ministry of Education has redesigned curricula from early childhood to high school levels to reflect the focus on STEAM competences.

She encouraged the participants to “take advantage of funding being offered for exams so that you can leave school with skill and certification, both from CSEC as well as the Associate Degree”.

She said the Associate Degree programme is being fully funded by the government and will make graduates more work-ready after leaving school.

Dr Marcia Rowe-Amonde, Senior Director, TVET Development and Support Systems, HEART/NSTA Trust delivered the Trust’s message on behalf of Managing Director Dr Janet Dyer.

She said the vital national task of human capital development required a sharp focus on STEAM subjects.

“We want to develop the Jamaican workforce to meet its full potential,” Rowe-Amonde told the gathering.

She continued: “Therefore at today’s conference you will get to know what we are offering to train, certify and empower you to be skilled experts who will be in high demand for high-paying jobs or as innovative entrepreneurs who can build successful businesses.”

Presenters at the Conference included Jason Scott, who launched the first media payment platform in the Caribbean, and Shantell ‘Shanz’ Hill, Brand Manager of Sunshine Snacks Jamaica, Co-Founder of Amase Marketing and also Co-Founder of Chambers Hydro Farms.

During the Conference, useful information was provided at sponsored booths in the hotel’s lobby area, featuring new and emerging technologies such as robotics, virtual and augmented reality, digital animation, renewable energy and 3D printing.

Career Awareness Week ended on Friday, February 14 with a National Exposition on the Creative and Cultural Industries at the Institute of Jamaica for High School Students of selected schools located in and around the environs of downtown Kingston.

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