The career choices of Jamaica’s future leaders are expanding. Once, most children if asked what they want to be when they grow up would respond by saying; teacher, doctor or lawyer. Now, Jamaican teens are adding to the list – engineer. Civil engineering, software engineering, mechanical engineering, medical engineering – all areas of engineering are interesting Jamaican future professionals. This is largely so, as the nation has deepened its educational training opportunities to prepare Jamaican talents for innovative careers.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) has become a focus for educational institutions in the dispensation of their curriculum. STEAM is being used as the basis for the development of a new curriculum at schools from the primary through to university. A few years ago, eight secondary-level schools were selected as pilot places for the implementation of the new academic programme. Since then more schools have come on board, widening classes in design techniques, applied physics, computer programming, additional mathematics and other STEAM based subjects.
At the tertiary-level, an institution that is leading in this area is the recently upgraded Caribbean Maritime to University status. Enrolment at the University has more than tripled in the last couple of years. As future workers want to be prepared for the workforce in areas such as engineering, seafaring and logistics. CMU, as they are now called and no longer CMI, has also expanded to offering courses in mechatronics, cybersecurity and drone making. The university also trains pilots for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), commonly called drones. This Summer they also offered courses in drone making and usage, which was well sought after. Innovative degrees in Marine biotechnology and Systems Engineering are also available at CMU.
The vast area of renewable energy has also called for more training and skilled personnel. The HEART Trust/NTA now offers certificate and diploma courses in solar panel making and installation. The University of Technology has partnered with the German Society for International Cooperation and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance to offer a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change. Not to be outdone, Wigton Renewable Energy Training Laboratory recently offered a three-day certification course in wind and hydro systems application.
Jamaica’s educational system is moving a pace with first-world job market. Providing the required training to meet market demands, particularly in the areas of STEAM. While the country as the world is moving towards technology based careers there are offerings for persons to be trained in these areas, for youngsters as well as those desirous of returning to the classroom.