JIS News

Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson, has charged construction workers to become certified in their trade, so as to be better able to compete with other Caribbean nationals once the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) comes on stream.
“Very shortly, if it hasn’t started already.our Jamaican construction workers will have to compete right here in Jamaica against persons from throughout the Caribbean, who may have similar or better skills.
It means that the Jamaica builder can choose from a much wider labour pool than they have ever chosen before. Five years from now, when there is the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), the labour pool will become even larger,” the Education Minister stated.
She was addressing the Incorporated Masterbuilders Association of Jamaica’s (IMAJ) scholarship award ceremony, where 48 scholarships were presented to children of construction workers. The function was held today (Jan.18) at Emancipation Park in Kingston.
Mrs. Henry Wilson encouraged the construction workers to make use of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between HEART/NTA and the IMAJ, which is designed to certify job skills in areas such as air-conditioning and refrigeration, carpentry, drywall construction, tiling, joinery, masonry, painting and decorating, plumbing, upholstering and welding, among others.
“The MOU”, she stated, “will ensure that the ordinary worker in the industry has a certificate that says that these are the levels of your skills (and) these are the competencies that you have.”
She further observed that the MOU served to ensure that every single Jamaican “is able to be a part of that wider pool of human resource that is going to lead to the construction of our societies”.
Meanwhile, she challenged the awardees to make the best use of the scholarships to advance their education. “Your hope is that opportunity that is being provided for you to get an education. Your hope is in that award you are receiving from the IMAJ and you have the responsibility to give further expression to that hope,” she encouraged them.
The scholarships were awarded under the IMAJ Education Assistance Programme, which was launched in July 2004. Awardees were chosen based on their academic performance and the level of financial need.
The programme comes in line with the IMAJ’s pledge to contribute significantly to nation building and to facilitate the future development of the Jamaican construction industry.
In addition to the scholarships for children of construction workers, bursaries were also created for study at the University of the West Indies’ Faculty of Engineering in St. Augustine; the University of Technology’s Faculty of Built Environment and the HEART TRUST/NTA.
The programme is valued at more than $5 million and is funded through contributions from IMAJ members.

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