An engineering revolution - CAP students take advantage of education ministry, City and Guilds collaboration
As the economy grows, the demand for physical infrastructure increases and so does the need for engineers who can provide technological solutions for a stable and sustainable environment.
The engineering profession is among the top 50 highest-paying jobs for graduates at the tertiary level in the world, but currently, there are only three chartered engineers in Jamaica. That is about to change, thanks to City and Guilds of London Institute, which is providing the solution for professional and world-class certification and recognition.
The Ministry of Education and City & Guilds have collaborated to offer the Engineering #2850-90 qualification at Level 3 to sixth-form students. This initiative is a pilot project comprising 200 sixth-form students from Ardenne High School, St George's College, York Castle High School, Jamaica College, Mona High School, Brown's Town Community College, The School of Advanced Studies - Caribbean Maritime University, and the Institute of International Recognized Qualifications (IIRQ).
The project was launched last summer and rolled out by the education ministry through the Career Advancement Programme (CAP) in September 2017.
The programme facilitates dual certification from City & Guilds and the Caribbean Examinations Council. The students are pursuing CAPE's Associate Degree in Technology alongside City & Guilds Level 3 Engineering #2850.
With more than 1,000 engineers needed to meet the development needs of the nation, this initiative is expected to empower young Jamaicans with employment options, whether regionally or internationally.
Engineering students excited about future
Two Career Advancement Programme (CAP) students are already poised to become professionally qualified as engineering technicians (EngTech).
They will complete their two-year internship programme in July 2018 at the Institute of International Recognized Qualifications (IIRQ) where they are currently engaged. The students are poised to become the first two CAP Engineering students to achieve the EngTech designation. They are John Ellis and Theodore Bennett.
Ellis is 20 years old and completing his internship at IIRQ.
"When I graduated from Ardenne High, I wanted to go straight to the University of Technology (UTech) to do a BSc in civil engineering, but Professor Oliver encouraged me to enroll in CAP and do City & Guilds Welding Engineering at IIRQ," he said.
Ellis is excited about his prospects.
"This is the best thing that could happen to me! I have both the theory and practical."
He plans to work in Europe as a rig welder and wants to pursue further studies to become certified as an underwater welder.
Bennett is 22 years old and has big plans for his future.
"In another five years, I see myself working in a major electronics company building electronic devices. I will have both the knowledge and the practical experience," he said.
Bennett graduated from Meadowbrook High School, where he gained 16 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects, but his financial circumstances did not allow him to immediately matriculate to university.
"When I left school, I really wanted to do engineering at UTech, but the tuition cost was too expensive. Someone told me about IIRQ and the City and Guilds Engineering programme, so I applied to the Career Advancement Programme. The rest is history".
Bennett was recently awarded a scholarship by the education ministry to pursue an associate degree in renewable energy and technology at Exed Community College. He was chosen because of his outstanding results in the City & Guilds Engineering examination at Level 3.
"For me, this is a win-win situation because I'll now be able to enroll in the degree programme at UTech with a two-year exemption after completing the associate degree along with my City & Guilds in Engineering."
City & Guilds is the world's largest provider of vocational qualifications with headquarters in London and a presence in 100 countries. This year, City & Guilds is celebrating 140 years since its inception. At least two generations of Jamaica have pursued City & Guilds qualifications since the early days of the College of Arts Science & Technology before the formation of the UTech.
What engineering qualifications can do for you
• The Institute of Engineering (UK) recognises three professional levels, these are: Chartered Engineer (C.Eng.); Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Engineering Technician (EngTech). These professional designations allow suitably qualified persons to cross borders and work under the Sidney, Dublin and Washington Accords.
• Students in the pilot collaboration between the Ministry of Education and City & Guilds, if successful, will be able to achieve the status of Engineering Technician and use post nominal letters (EngTech) after completing two years of work experience. Under the Dublin Accord, the students will be able to work in Europe, UK, the United States, Canada and the Middle East. The Dublin Accord offers cross-border reciprocity to persons with this qualification in Engineering.