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Professional football club St. Ann's Rangers and Metal Industries Company Institute of Technology (MIC-IT) have teamed up in a historic partnership that provides an incredible two-fold opportunity to young men and women of Trinidad and Tobago.

The first of its kind in the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League era, the focus of the partnership – which will initially run for three years – is geared towards allowing aspiring professional footballers an opportunity to continue their education and technical skills up to tertiary level and beyond.

As a result, the football club will now be called MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers or simply MIC-IT STAR ahead of the new 2017 TTPL season which kicks off in late May.

“[The partnership] is destined for greatness,” said MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers general manager Jason Spence during the unveiling of the partnership last Friday at the MIC Institute of Technology head coach in Macoya.

MIC Institute of Technology, an accredited institution which offers training to men and women from age 17 to 50, is an agency of the Ministry of Education Tertiary Education Division. Its mission is to be a catalyst for developing national technical and vocational competencies for competitive industries through quality training, innovation, manufacturing and engineering products and services.

The partnership will benefit players of MIC-IT STAR Under-19 team, Women’s Team and the professional team.

Shem Alexander, Sports Specialist at MIC-IT, and close friend Adrian Romain were the architects of the MIC-IT STAR partnership.

Alexander, a former midfielder at St. Ann’s Rangers, said the partnership will be mutually beneficial to both parties. He said the Sports and Mentorship departments along with the Marketing Division of MIC-IT are always committed to the new and innovative means of enhancing trainee life and helping to attract more trainees into their programme.

“Both MIC-IT and St. Ann’s Rangers are fully committed in pooling our resources to achieve our goals,” added Alexander.

Alexander also said that Richard Fakoory, who co-owns the St. Ann’s-based club with Richard Piper, “wasn’t only excited about the number of youths he would see turning away from a life of crime, but also the opportunity for them to be educated.”

MIC-IT has achieved a number of strategic partnerships with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago; the ICON Institute and the Chamber of Crafts and Trades, Germany; the American Welding Society (AWS) and other accredited institutions. 

The benefits of such partnerships define MIC Institute of Technology as a training institution, offering programmes such as the Journeyman National Skills Development Programme (NSDP); Master Craftsman certifications in Mechanical, Electrical/Electronic and Mechatronics; Helping You Prepare for Employment (HYPE); Industrial Craft Programme (ICP); Multi-Sector Skills Training (MuST); Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR); Engineer-In-Training and other specialised and customised training programmes.

“Wouldn’t it be great as a player to win the league or qualify for the Caribbean Club Championship – which is definitely one of our goals –along with graduating as a qualified tradesman with a skill for life?” Spence questioned.

The MIC-IT STAR general manager added that MIC-IT and St. Ann’s Rangers have seen the positive and profound impact that merging their resources can have on the young population in their “confidence, their self-esteem, on society, on crime, and on their future.”

“On the part of MIC-IT, the highly focused technical trainee is given an opportunity to express him or herself in the beautiful game of football at the highest level in Trinidad and Tobago—the TT Pro League.

“Now that these two very experienced, durable, ambitious entities have come together… football wins… tertiary education wins… and more importantly, the trainee or player will come out the overall winner.

“MIC-IT St. Ann’s Rangers is now offering this opportunity to all young persons in Trinidad and Tobago who have an inner desire to achieve and develop holistically—on and off the field; in and out of the classroom,” concluded Spence.

Alexander meanwhile said MIC-IT STAR hopes to tap in on income generating opportunities such as gate fees, transfer fees of players, sale of branding materials and sponsorship.

Anthony Streete, who led the Pro League outfit to an improved seventh-place finish last season, will continue as coach of MIC-IT STAR for the 2017 season.