JIS News

The Embassy of Japan and the Board of Cornerstone Ministries have signed a US$76,483 contract to establish an automotive training centre at the Ministries’ Connolley Avenue training facility in Kingston.
The signing took place yesterday (Sept. 25) at the Japanese Embassy on Oxford Road in Kingston. The project is being funded under the Government of Japan’s Grant Assistance to Grassroots Project (GGP) programme. This programme, which started some eight years ago, has funded over 40 projects in Jamaica.
Japanese Ambassador, Hiroshi Sakurai said that the signing symbolised two important achievements. “First it symbolises the continuation of the rich collaboration between the peoples of Jamaica and Japan. Secondly, the project is symbolic of Japan’s commitment to improve the quality of the human resources in developing countries such as Jamaica.
Human resource development through training is very important to my Government,” he said.
The Japanese envoy said that he was honoured to present his government’s GGP Grant, which had been providing support in the development of skilled persons in the area of auto mechanic.
Alton Grizzle, Programme Director of Cornerstone Ministries, in his remarks, said the automotive training project, which would be administered in one-year cycles, sought to link the identified need for training and employment with the opportunities that the automotive industry made possible. The programme, he said would use the latest technology, utilising computerised simulated models.
In addition, the Programme Director said that the primary objectives of the project was to train 40 young persons in automotive electrical and mechanic areas, while contributing to the overall transformation of the inner city by focusing on attitude, lifestyle and discipline of youth.
The partners in the programme include the Embassy of Japan, the Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART/NTA) the Social Development Commission (SDC), Motors Repairs Association of Jamaica, Swallowfield Chapel and the Greater Allman Town Combined Citizen’s Association/Greater Allman Town Community Development Committee.
The HEART Trust will fund selected components of the project as well as offer certification for the project.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd, who also spoke at the signing, said the Ministry was pleased to be associated with the project. He said it was a “win win situation” as all participants stood to benefit from the investment.
Dr. Rhodd pointed out that the investment being made by the Japanese Embassy in the development of human resources was an “investment at a distance, as we are really creating servicemen in Jamaica who are going to ensure that the Japanese line of cars continue to maintain their high standards on our roads.”
He commended Cornerstone Ministries for its continued contribution to the country. The organisation, which was founded by Doug and Lorna Kessner who came to Jamaica in 1986, began its programme by teaching tradesmen from various industries in the fields of woodwork and welding. Classes are offered in Christian Principles, Math, Drafting and Wood Theory.
In 1993, the Cornerstone Ministries expanded its programme and targeted the correctional centres, including Gun Court, where it helped to rehabilitate inmates. One year later, Cornerstone extended its programme to the General Penitentiary.
Turning to the beneficiaries from the greater Allman Town and Swallowfield communities, Dr. Rhodd said, “you will appreciate this investment and it’s just a stepping stone, as you are going to be aiming for higher heights as you try to reconnect with education and training”.
He mentioned also, that the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture was developing a high school equivalency programme to assist persons who had left school without completing their education. These persons, he said would get the opportunity to finish their formal schooling and receive a high school diploma.
The State Minister also commended the HEART Trust and the Motor Repairs Association for their involvement in the programme.

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