Young Jamaicans interested in pursuing careers in the aviation industry, especially in the area of aircraft maintenance, can now benefit under the Government’s Aerospace Education Development Fund (AEDF).
The fund, which was officially launched yesterday (Dec. 7) by Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, comes as Jamaica seeks to beef up its capacity in the field, given the increasing global demand for trained professionals and the opening up of opportunities worldwide.
Speaking at the International Civil Aviation Day function held at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, where the launch was held, Mr. Henry said that the fund provides “a new day to dawn for our young people in an industry that is just beginning to bloom.”
According to the Minister, the building of capacity in the aircraft maintenance will open up new opportunities for Jamaica. “Every aircraft that is to be repaired today is invariably sent back to Singapore or Europe. Not even North America does there exist the full ability to maintain and service engines. it is therefore very important what this offers to the future of Jamaica,” he stated.
Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, Lt. Col. Oscar Derby (right) greets United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Her Excellency Pamela Bridgewater, upon her arrival at the International Civil Aviation Day luncheon, at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston Tuesday (December 7).
The AEDF starts at $15 million, with a ceiling of $45 million and students will be able to access up to 75 of their tuition cost.
To benefit from assistance, applicants must be Jamaica nationals 18 years and older, who has been accepted in a Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCCA) – approved training institution. Priority will be given to students interested in pursuing programmes in aircraft maintenance.
Applicants will be required to attend a loan interview before a panel, and provide three references. Returning students must maintain a passing grade in the previous school year, and must not have defaulted on a loan within the past three years.
Stressing the many opportunities in aviation and maritime services globally, Minister Henry informed that graduates of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) last year have all been placed in jobs, each earning an average of US$6,000 per week, with the possibility of earning up to US$15, 000.
Meanwhile, Director General of the JCAA, Lt. Col. Oscar Derby, said that the global aviation industry is expected to almost quadruple by 2026, requiring some 480,000 mechanics, and 350,000 pilots.
“In addition to the 17,000 airliners operating today, there is expected to be another 25, 000 airliners brought into service by 2026.the total global training capacity today cannot satisfy this demand. There is therefore an opportunity for business for countries that can increase the service in aviation training,” he noted.
He said that Jamaica “is gearing itself for that,” and within the past 13 months, one additional training organisiaion, the Caribbean Aerospace College, has been approved, with the Caribbean Aviation Training Centre given permission to open a satellite of a similar school from Guyana.
International Civil Aviation Day 2010 was observed under the theme: ‘Safe, Secure and Sustainable Aviation for our planet’.
An annual observance of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), since 1994, the day aims to generate and reinforce global awareness of the importance of civil aviation in social and economic development, and the ICAO’s role in promoting safety, and efficiency in air transport.