BY GAVIN RILEY
The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) on Wednesday, September 19, officially opened the doors to the region’s largest mechatronics and automation facility: the Festo Authorised and Certified Training (FACT) Centre.
The opening ceremony, held at the university’s campus in Kingston, was
touted as a historic moment as Jamaica seeks to position itself for the advent of the next industrial revolution – which will be driven primarily by artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.
As the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, the state-of-the-art FACT centre, built at a cost of over $700million, will deliver international certification to over 4,000 potential graduates in hopes to meet the changing needs of the engineering industry.
Festo is one of the world’s largest industrial control and automation companies. The Germany-based group, driven by engineering, is leading the global drive for technology and process automation.
A project six years in the making, Regional Director in the Americas for Festo Didactic Theodoros Ktistakis said that the opening of the FACT Centre marks as a new standard in training – formalising a change in the way information is organised, shared and used.
In his remarks, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the CMU’s partnership with Festo is an incredible achievement and, “a mammoth step in terms of education and modernisation not only for Jamaica but also for the wider region.”
Prime Minister Holness further argued that the FACT centre is unique in its establishment and represents Jamaica’s goal.
“The opening of this unique facility accurately represents and depicts our nation’s goal; our national outlook and our commitment as a country to develop our human resources so they are second-to-none and to develop our institutions so that they are modern and internationally competitive,” Holness contended.
What’s more, Prime Minister Holness hoped that the graduates of the centre will be instilled with analytical and creative habits of thinking and an aptitude for discernment and sound judgement that can guide them through a lifetime of achievement and success.
“It is through equipping our human resources to be productive and competitive that we will attain the potential and will for positive growth and development,” Holness asserted.