Ground was broken at the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) on Friday, December 2, 2016 for the construction of a FESTO FACT Centre.

A FESTO certification is a global stamp of approval for specialized engineers such as those who will be trained at the CMI and operates in much the same way as the ACCA accreditation for Accountants and CISCO for computer science practitioners.

The Caribbean Maritime Institute and the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PDF)have partnered with German company FESTO Didactic to establish the Centre at the CMI. This will be the fourth school at the CMI – bridging the gap between academia and the industry. The school is designed to meet the needs of industrial entities and solve their technical, personnel and training needs, through certification and training of critical engineers and technicians at all levels. This comprehensive offering is customized to fulfill the Jamaican (and by extension the Caribbean) workforce needs, utilizing the didactic methods of FESTO. This is a method that integrates technologies such as pneumatics, industrial safety, programmable logic control and a full automation laboratory, addressing commissioning, troubleshooting, closed loop control and robotics.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Transport and Mining Minister Mike Henry hailed the move as significant, noting that it signaled the CMI’s ‘unstoppable march towards modernity’. Minister Henry says this latest initiative by the CMI will enable them to train and certify students for high tech jobs in production systems such as bottling companies and the biomedical industries.

Meanwhile, CEO of PetroCaribe, Dr. Wesley Hughes said that they were very pleased to be partnering with CMI on the Project. He noted that PetroCaribe wasn’t initially minded to expend such large sums on the initiative but having assessed the need and the major impact it will have on the country, they had no choice but to provide wholehearted support.

Executive Director of the CMI, Dr. Fritz Pinnock was very grateful for the funding support from PetroCaribe as well as the Ministry of Transport and Mining. Said He, “In seeking funding for the initiative, over 90 proposals were written; we got refusals from so many but we are extremely elated that PetroCaribe came to our rescue.” He said that this was a demonstrative lesson in ‘patience and perseverance’.

The Centre which will be constructed at a cost of US$400M will become operational in September 2017 and will be the first of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean