Mon | Oct 15, 2018

CMU's FACT Centre to boost Jamaica's automobile assembly industry

Published:Thursday | September 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Ricardo Hopwood (centre), hydraulics factory trainer, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), explains hydraulics to Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) and Ruel Reid (right), minister of education, youth and information, during the opening and dedication ceremony of the Festo Authorised and Certified Training (F.A.C.T.) Centre at the institution yesterday.

The largest Festo Authorised Certified and Training (F.A.C.T.) Centre in the world, located at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), will help the underdeveloped automobile assembly sector in Jamaica to become a significant industry.

That is according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who delivered the keynote address at the opening and dedication ceremony at its Port Royal campus, yesterday.

He said that as the world stands on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Jamaica's response must be one that is integrated and comprehensive.

Holness said that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which integrates the physical, digital, and biological world, makes the traditional silo approach to teaching engineering unbeneficial and unproductive.

"In the past, this approach resulted in the tremendous shortage of certified technicians to service some of Jamaica's industries such as manufacturing, agro-processing, and the health sectors. This has also resulted in the underdevelopment of other sectors such as the automobile assembly sector, which is now poised to be a significant industry in Jamaica," the prime minister stated.

Holness described the centre as the "finished product of modern thinking, careful planning, extreme patience, relentless effort, and a vision backed by action and tenacity".

The new facility will benefit approximately 4,000 students per year, which CMU President, Professor Fritz Pinnock, says is monumental to Jamaica and the Caribbean's development.

"It is a dream that's finally come true. It took 99 proposals to get one acceptance, and it's the one acceptance that's important. I am sure our people will benefit, and that will redound to Jamaica's national strategic development," Pinnock said.

F.A.C.T. will deliver international certification in mechatronics and automation to meet the changing needs of the engineering industry. It is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.

"The CMU is pleased to partner with the world-leading provider of mechatronics training and certification - Festo Didactic," said Pinnock.

"We are even more pleased to be establishing the global flagship facility for Festo that will boast 10 world-class laboratories to include a fully automated AFB lab, Industry 4.0, autotronics, and welding," he said.

The facility was constructed with help from the Petrocaribe Fund to the tune of $402 million.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com