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UCC to award $5m in scholarships to Miss Jamaica World contestants

Published:Friday | August 14, 2015 | 8:00 AM
From left: Dr Shelly Trim, director of University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and Laura Butler Miss Jamaica World franchise holder share the dos and don’ts with the contestants at one of the many training sessions held at the University’s Main Campus on Worthington Ave.

The University College of the Caribbean (UCC) and the Miss World Jamaica Pageant have joined forces in a landmark deal that will positively impact all contestants in the 'beauty with a purpose' competition. The decision has been taken to break with tradition and to offer UCC's $5 million in academic scholarships on an 'as needed' basis to the entire pool of pageant contestants.

Dr Winston Adams, president and executive chairman of UCC, shared that he was pleased with the change of direction.

"A major part of the UCC mandate is to offer quality, relevant yet affordable options for higher education, and this decision underscores this precept," he said. "At UCC, we believe that Jamaica's human resource is our nation's strongest asset and our pledge of $5 million in academic scholarships to the Miss Jamaica World competition is indicative of our commitment to national development.

"From the first year that they approached us, we were excited at the prospect of being part of the beauty with a purpose movement that gives young ladies the tools they need to grow both in preparation for the competition and for life beyond it."

The university has extended its support to the contingent by including its highly coveted suite of corporate education courses and its premier leadership simulcast, Leadercast, in the offer to the 20 contestants.

When asked for her thoughts about the change, Laura Butler, Miss World franchise holder for Jamaica and managing director of Fusion Consulting Jamaica, said: "Miss Jamaica World is a pageant that attracts ambitious young ladies who are not only eager for a chance to represent Jamaica internationally, but are also eager for an opportunity to develop themselves.

"With this in mind, we feel compelled to do our utmost to help them along this journey. It is our responsibility to ensure that those who are most in need of the scholarships receive this benefit."

She added: "We are so pleased to have such a meaningful partnership with UCC, who have demonstrated their commitment with this shared vision by supporting us for the last three years."

The UCC/Miss Jamaica World partnership will see the distribution of $5 million in scholarships tenable for a selection of associate, bachelor's, master's and corporate-education programmes offered at any of the institution's eight campus locations islandwide.

Vanassa Metzger, 2013 Miss Jamaica World finalist, is currently enrolled at UCC in the MBA programme. "It would have been very difficult to have started my master's programme without the benefit of the scholarship," she said. "The burden has been reduced significantly. I am doing well and I am very appreciative of the Miss Jamaica World Pageant and UCC for giving me the opportunity to do so."