UCC launches creative institute

UCC launches creative institute

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN Career & Education writer honeyghanp@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, October 22, 2016

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WHEN local digital media company eMedia Interactive Group Limited founder and CEO Tyrone Wilson conceptualised the business, he dreamed of making it a global brand. What he wasn’t particularly sure about was how to do it.

But with the launch two Wednesdays ago of a certificate media programme at the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), called iCreate Institute, Wilson’s dream appears to be within reach.

"This is a big milestone in the journey for eMedia Interactive. We always aim to create opportunities for students, especially with various creative interests, which is why we started the internship programme and we were able to draft talented university students, some of whom are still with us now under the iCreate internship programme. Having seen the progress and recognising that we have a knack for teaching and developing talent, we thought, ‘Why not transform this into an institute?’"

iCreate will begin operation in January next year and will initially offer three-month- long certificate programmes in advertising, video production, content marketing, animation, and project management. However, Wilson said that with the relevant accreditation from local and international bodies, he envisions offering masters degrees in short order.

To be accepted into the programme, individuals will need a minimum of five Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate subjects and a portfolio displaying relevant creative abilities.

"This partnership will enable many talented and creative individuals to gain access to the programme that will equip them with knowledge relevant to their programmes of choice," Wilson told the
Jamaica Observer following the programme launch.

Dr Winston Adams, Group Executive Chairman at UCC, described the partnership with e-Media as an example of their commitment to the institution’s motto of fostering leadership and innovation.

"We have partnered with eMedia to create UCC’s iCreate Institute, the first of its kind in Jamaica I daresay. It’s exciting times. This partnership is a direct response to labour market demands for knowledgeable and skilled individuals to take advantage of opportunities in the technology-driven creative industry that has been our impetus and motivation. The partnership also further underscores UCC’s link with business and industry,and therefore the programmes will undoubtedly promote entrepreneurial skills. Through the establishment of the iCreate Institute, UCC is also broadening its programme offerings and increasing the opportunities for young people to fulfil their true potential. It is a game-changer in Jamaica," Dr Adams told the audience.

The eMedia head said it was focus on entrepreneurship that attracted him to UCC.

"We chose UCC because of two things. One would be that media institutes already exist at universities such as at UWI [The University of the West Indies]. There is CARIMAC [Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication], BCAT [The Communication Arts and Technology Unit] at UTech [University of Technology] and so we wanted to find an institution that would do us justice while we tried to execute our dream. While looking at the institutions, we had our eyes on UCC. We have watched it evolve and witnessing that evolution, we realised something that we have been wanting to see in several institutions — they were entrepreneurial and we didn’t just want an academics-based institution. So we knew they would make the perfect ally," Wilson said.

He told
Career & Education that while the existing media training outfits have made a significant contribution to the development of the creative economy, he feels that they failed to make graduates market-ready.

"We believe like other established local institutions there is a place for us to do just that, to add value to the creative industry. How we intend to do this is by targeting the technical, creative and entrepreneurial aspects of training and that is what is missing with so many of the individuals who are coming out of training. eMedia will also infuse in its curriculum information on how to start a business, structure of business fundamentals of business and how to start one, because students ought to be taught to be independent," he said.

Wilson added: "We will really focus on students getting access to industry-standard equipment from day one. We will have them in our studios, in the fields, on workshops, talking to industry leaders and entrepreneurs to ensure that they are adequately educated on the demands that will be made of them when they go into companies after graduation."

The man who was given the task of vetting the proposal, Senior Director, Strategic Business and ICT Development Dr Maurice Miller, said that he too was bowled over by how implementation-ready the document was. In fact, he said that the university was so impressed that it snatched up the opportunity before any other player got wind of the programme.

"We at UCC agree with the United Nations that the creative industries are becoming an increasingly important component of modern post-industrial knowledge-based economies. Not only are the creative industries thought to account for higher than average growth and job creation, they are also vehicles of cultural identity that play an important role in fostering cultural diversity. At present, the creative sector is the third-largest contributor to GDP [gross domestic product] and has a significant multiplier effect on the Jamaican economy through seamless linkages with other industries such as tourism and manufacturing. Let’s act fast so that we can add quality graduates to this growing industry," Dr Miller urged.

Sagicor Group has undertaken to provide financing for students to attend the institute.

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