Education minister wants industry to retain engineering graduates
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams, says efforts will be made to strengthen industry linkages to retain engineering graduates in Jamaica.
“I know that a gap exists currently. We need to have stronger links, stronger linkages into industry in Jamaica. I don’t think we are exploiting that enough; having those conversations with companies, having them know the skillset of the graduates who are coming out,” Williams said.
She was addressing Wednesday’s opening session of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) workshop, held at the University of Technology (UTech), Jamaica, in St Andrew, under the theme ‘Towards Expanding Access to Quality Engineering Science Excellence Opportunities in Jamaica’.
Williams also pointed out that more resources need to be made available to engineering graduates who want to pursue entrepreneurship.
“Those are the areas, I would say, that we need to move in now. We’ve just traditionally graduated students without having that follow-through to see where they are going or what they are doing,” the minister noted.
Meanwhile, she said the Government is committed to ensuring that no student is left behind in the technology race.
She stated that 663 primary and secondary schools are now equipped with broadband connectivity.
“We’re not stopping there. We are currently engaging in a procurement to ensure that across each and every school, there is adequate Wi-Fi capability, so that in every classroom and across the campus, there’s access,” Williams said.
She also said that 22,000 of Jamaica’s 26,000 teachers have been provided with laptops.
Williams pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic forced students and teachers to adapt to using technology, and the ministry is “determined not to lose those gains”.
“You’re familiar with how to use your devices and as a government we are doing the hard part in terms of ensuring the connectivity in our schools, ensuring that our teachers are trained, as well, and ensuring that they have access to devices,” the minister said.