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Life Long Learning the Way Forward

“Thought processes that encourage the belief that learning and education are to be confined to the formal settings of the four walls of the classroom, or which say that what you learn today will have longevity professionally are now fully redundant.” So said Senior Partner at the accounting firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Leighton McKnight while speaking at the opening ceremony of the annual Careers Expo mounted by the Office of Placement and Career Services at The University of the West Indies (UWI, Mona campus on Thursday, (March 4).

The annual Career Expo was designed to provide UWI students, as well as other tertiary and secondary level students with an opportunity to access relevant career information on a variety of disciplines and industries in a creative manner, under the Theme “Life Long Learning: the Way Forward”.

Mr. McKnight noted that the visionaries among us have realised that learning, especially in relation to one’s chosen career/profession is an ongoing, lifelong process which progressive persons and societies must undertake even beyond formal retirement. He told the audience of high school and university students as well as employers from the public and private sectors that that in today’s era of globalization “if an individual wants to continue to earn, he/she must continue to learn as life-long learning is now a necessity for continued relevance and economic survival.”

This approach, he explained, demands an acceptance that continuous education is essential and a change in attitude towards education. He told the students that in the workplace most prospective employers regard academic qualifications as a mere indicator of the new employee’s capacity to learn and nothing else. Other critical skills often learned outside the classroom such as leadership, the ability to get on with others, knowledge of the firm and of world affairs, computer literacy, the ability to express oneself orally and in written format and grooming are most often used to determine if a candidate gets the job.

The opening ceremony also included presentations from the Director of Student Services at UWI, Mona, Dr. Thelora Reynolds and the Student Services Manager, Placement and Careers, Mrs. Merrit Henry. A special award was also presented to Mr. Rene Daley, retired Senior Assistant Registrar, Outreach and Awards and the first Director of Career Services at UWI Mona in recognition of the role he played in the establishment of the Office of Placement and Career Services.

The organisors also presented awards to participants who won the Best and most Creative Booths competitions. The winner of the Best Booth, Category 1 was the Jamaica Defence Force which also copped the WINDLCO trophy for the Best Overall Booth. The Most Creative Booth in Category 1 was the HEART Trust/NTA. Best Booth in Category 2 was RBTT Bank which was also the Most Creative Booth in that category.

Over 40 companies and organizations from the public and private sectors participated this year in the two-day event in the Assembly Hall at Mona.

Ealane Livingston Smith
Actg. Asst. Public Relations Officer
Tel: 977-5941
March 5, 2004.

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