Smyle on top

Associate editor — News/Health

Sunday, December 09, 2018

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Corporal Renardo Smyle might have joined the Jamaica Constabulary Force as a result of financial challenges, but he has come to develop a passion for service and wants to make a difference by putting the knowledge gained from his occupational associate degree to good use.

The 27-year-old, who was last Tuesday named valedictorian of his graduating class of more than 400, told the Jamaica Observer that he intends to focus on reducing occupational hazards within the JCF, an organisation he joined eight years ago.

The batch of graduates is the first cohort to complete the two-year associate degree programme developed under the direction of the Centre of Occupational Studies (COS) in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. They completed training in logistics, business process outsourcing, knowledge process outsourcing, manufacturing, agriculture, hospitality, and renewable energy technology at participating tertiary institutions.

The associate degree programme, developed in response to the demands of the workplace, is a first insofar as granting people with skills or a background in trade with tertiary qualification.

The graduates, who studied at Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), Bethlehem Moravian College, Brown's Town Community College, College of Agricultural Science and Education, Excelsior Community College, G C Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean, and Western Hospitality Institute, were lauded at Tuesday's commencement and recognition ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston. The ceremony was held under the theme: 'Occupational Certification for Competence and Compensation'.

Smyle, who is assigned to the Support Services Branch of the JCF, completed studies in logistics and supply management at CMU, and is already putting some of what he learnt with respect to occupational hazards into practice.

“The occupational hazards that are ever-present within the organisation, and [specifically] my department, [which] is mostly a behind-the-desk job, if you are not properly seated or postured, you will develop serious ergonomic challenges in the future,” he said, reiterating that his focus will be safety within the workplace.

Smyle conceded that it will be some time before the results are evident, but said he will approach it on a case-by-case basis, explaining the risks and possible dangers to his colleagues every chance he gets.

The Broadleaf, Manchester native told the Observer on Thursday that growing up in the primarily farming community, and being from humble beginnings, being named valedictorian was like a dream come true.

He said he knew he had worked hard throughout the programme, which he described as “adventurous”, but did not imagine he would've been named valedictorian. He credits his upbringing for his success.

“I knew that in order to become successful I needed to work hard, and if I don't put in the work then I won't get anything at all. Just as how I would've seen my parents and grandparents having to work in order to get food on the table, then I knew there and then that I would have to put in the work, probably two times more, in order to attain my dreams and aspirations,” said Smyle.

Smyle, who also has a diploma in motor vehicle repairs from the Jamaica-German Automotive School, had some words of encouragement for future COS students.

“Never expect it to be a smooth sail. Tides will be raging at times, but you just have to be focused on your destination. That is what is going to bring your ship of challenges and hope to the dock — the lighthouse of your destination; where you want to be at the end of the programme… In order to become the greatness that is within us, we have to face serious challenges and this (the programme) is just one of the challenges that we must face,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid, who addressed the graduates last Tuesday, encouraged them to move on from the programme and excel.

“You are setting the stage for others to follow. You are indeed making this a pathway for so many other Jamaicans to follow. You are creating this opening that will forever transform Jamaica, land we love,” Reid said. “I charge you to move on from here with this new skill, to make sure all the values that you would've learnt are upheld, because there is knowledge, skills and attitude.

“To whom much is given, much is expected. Serve wherever you do serve with integrity, serve with diligence. Let all of us be proud of you. Inspire the other young people around you to come back into education and training,” he urged.

Launched in December 2016, COS is responsible for creating tertiary pathways for people with technical and vocational competencies in various careers.

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