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HEART/NSTA Trust collaborated with Cisco Systems in an official virtual conference on Wednesday, March 30, 2021, to reinforce a common commitment for Country Digitalization in alignment the Government’s digital agenda. The Most Honourable Prime Minister Andrew Holness participated as the Keynote Speaker and was supported by the Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Honourable Fayval Williams who delivered remarks.

In support of this partnership, the HEART College of Innovation and Technology (HCIT) has been designated Academy Support Centre (ASC) and an Instructor Training Centre (ITC) of Cisco Networking Academy. The partnership is intended to increase Jamaica’s global competitiveness and prepare for the world’s technological disruptions through education, training and job opportunities.

The HEART/NSTA’s initial collaboration with Cisco Networking Academy began in February 2002 at the Stony Hill Academy now the Eastern TVET Institute-Stony Hill Campus. The management of the Cisco Academy was transferred to the Caribbean Institute of Technology, now HEART College of Innovation & Technology (HCIT), in September 2010 with the HCIT providing support for institutions in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. The newly revitalized programme is primarily focused on empowering Jamaican institutions and instructors with an updated and market aligned course offered by Cisco Systems, the world’s leading networking and communication organisation. The HCIT began training the first cohort of thirty-five (35) new instructors in the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) train-the-trainer course on Monday, March 15, 2021. The cohort began with instructors from HCIT, Eastern TVET Institute- Stony Hill Campus, Moneague College, Montego Bay Community College, Northern Caribbean University, Spot Valley High and Knox Community College; as well as instructors from Grenada, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Suriname.

Graduates of the Cisco Networking Academy programme receive international certificates in their courses of study and are prepared for prestigious industry certificates such as the CISCO Certified Network Associate (CCNA) designation. This qualification is highly sought after in industry and is often-times a requirement for attaining employment in most firms in the telecommunications industry for positions such as Network Engineers and Network Administrators. The programme’s primary goal is to improve the skills of Jamaicans and other Caribbean instructors who, on successful completion of training, will implement training programmes in their respective institutions with a minimum of ten (10) students each, thereby expanding and strengthening the portfolio and community of Cisco Networking Academy in the region. In two years, 70 instructors will be trained with a multiplier effect of 700 students benefitting overall from this programme.

This partnership between the HEART/NSTA Trust and Cisco will engender to a broad range of opportunities for the development of Jamaica’s human capital – technologically skilled and globally competent.

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