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UCC and eMedia Entrepreneurial Collaboration in Education

Published:Friday | March 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Vehicles drive past the UCC campus at Worthington Avenue in New Kingston.

UCC and eMedia entrepreneurial collaboration in education

Neville Graham

Business Reporter

Content company eMedia Interactive is partnering with University College of the Caribbean (UCC) to offer a new suite of courses in communications design.

"Our coming together is not just pure altruism; this is a smart alliance of people with different things to do," said UCC President Troy McGrath. "We don't do what they (eMedia) do well, and they came to us because we something else well and together we think that this is not only good for both institutions but it's especially good for students and young people in the field."

The partners say the courses will fill what they consider to be a big gap in training in the development of media content. The courses will cost US$500 to US$1,500.

eMedia put out word last year that they would be setting up a new outfit called iCreate Institute to address a serious shortage of personnel in the content industry, covering the full range from videographers, to editors and animators along with writers to production personnel. Its partnership with UCC will be through iCreate.

Chief operating officer of eMedia Javette Nixon says the company sees a business opportunity in content training and wants to be early movers in exploiting it.

"At the root of it is a recognition that the economy is changing, and as the economy changes Jamaica has some natural advantages; but if we're not training our people to benefit from those advantages, then we're not going to be the economy that we want to be in the next five, 10, 15 or 25 years," Nixon said.

UCC is a private school that offers business courses at the certificate to postgraduate levels, having evolved from its specialisation in workplace knowledge courses under its initial identity as the Institute of Management and Production.

The communications design certificate programmes will begin in July, to be preceded by a marketing blitz. The plan is to start with a small cohort of 100 students and scale up starting September 2016, says eMedia CEO Tyrone Wilson. Course delivery will be at UCC, whose campus is located at Worthington Avenue in New Kingston.

Asked whether his programme would compete with offerings at the Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts and Carimac at the University of the West Indies, Wilson said the area he is focused on is underserved.

"We are not aiming to compete with what is in the market now but, rather, to offer differentiation from what we have experienced in our own business at eMedia," he said.

"We've hired people coming out of these institutions and typically find that there is a big gap between their practical knowledge and their work-readiness. This is an opportunity to graduate people who have the theoretical and practical knowledge but who are also work-ready."

It is estimated that the Jamaica content industry is in need of some 5,000 persons to fill positions, especially in animation.