Start a new career at college
You may have had your heart set on attending university in one of the islands' major cities, but could the career of your dreams be waiting for you in a local community college?
Locally, five community colleges and three mutli-disciplinary colleges, with nineteen locations island wide, offer various types and levels of education and training.
Cebert Adamson, executive Director of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica (CCCJ) suggests that relatively lower costs and greater accessibility makes the institutions a viable option for Jamaicans seeking to change careers or start on a new path via skills training and education.
According to Adamson, "community colleges are strategically placed in almost every parish with most lecturers in the colleges having a Masters degree."
He also points out that programmes span a wide range of disciplines including Hospitality and Entertainment, Business, Information Technology, Architectural and Construction Technology, Engineering Technology, Clothing and Fashion, Environmental Studies, Performing Arts and Library Technical Studies.
In addition to programmes which are accredited by the University Council of Jamaica, the national accreditation agency, many programmes offered by community colleges are also developed in collaboration with industry experts serving as advisors.
Affordability is another feature of the community college offerings.
Adamson notes, "For many years, community colleges through creative and innovative ways have been able to provide high quality education and training at affordable rates.
"Our learners and those who invest in their education are also able to save more because of the location of these colleges across the country." High boarding and commuting costs are often avoided.
The cost of doing an associate or bachelors degree appears to be cheapest within this college network. The cost of associates and bachelors degree at the colleges ranges from $120,000 to 180,000 per year compared to $180,000 and above in the established universities.
Older Jamaicans will also find a higher level of comfort in attending a college near home which also promotes lifelong learning.
Qualification for college includes standard O'level subjects, diplomas or associate degrees, plus the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) route in which applicants over age twenty-five with a minimum five years experience in a specialised area of the industry, for e.g. marketing, accounts, IT, Hospitality. For this last group, acceptance can be based on employment experience, as well as certificates of achievement, positions held along with job descriptions and community involvement.
Colleges are said to be also responsive to local needs with each college developing programmes specific to the needs of their communities.
*Learn more at http://cccj.edu.jm. Information provided by
Cebert Adamson, executive director of the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica.
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