- The HEART Trust/NTA and the Essex Valley Community and Associates (EVC) have joined forces to launch the EVC’s Employment Certification Programme.
- The EVC is the business unit or income-generating arm of the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart bauxite company’s Community Council and is a registered charitable organization.
- It assists in providing labour to JISCO/Alpart by first offering employment opportunities to residents in the local communities in which the company operates.
The HEART Trust/NTA and the Essex Valley Community and Associates (EVC) have joined forces to launch the EVC’s Employment Certification Programme.
The EVC is the business unit or income-generating arm of the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart bauxite company’s Community Council and is a registered charitable organization.
It assists in providing labour to JISCO/Alpart by first offering employment opportunities to residents in the local communities in which the company operates.
The launch ceremony took place at the Alpart Sports Club in Nain, St. Elizabeth, on Tuesday (February 26).
The organisation also uses excess funds earned from the contracts at JISCO/Alpart to carry out a range of community outreach programmes in the areas of education, agriculture, health, youth, sports and infrastructural development.
Managing Director of JISCO/Alpart, Zhang Jun, has lauded the programme. “We at JISCO/Alpart strongly believe that this initiative is timely in the context of our corporate organisational needs. This thrust will allow the company to become more productive and efficient,” he said.
“As you may be aware, JISCO/Alpart resumed operations just over two years ago. We have started a number of upgrade works; therefore, the training and certification of EVC employees is a plus for the company. This kind of initiative by the EVC displays leadership, shared vision and strategic management, which augurs well for customer satisfaction and human development,” the Managing Director added.
He also outlined that the EVC’s partnership with HEART Trust/NTA is fully endorsed by JISCO/Alpart, as the company views the initiative as a major avenue towards the improvement of human performance.
“It (the training programme) will allow employees to acquire new skills, explore new ideas and engage themselves in activities that help them to secure a better future for their families and communities,” Mr. Jun expressed.
For her part, Managing Director of HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Janet Dyer, noted that the agency is pleased with the partnership.
“We are delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the EVC organisation. The Alpart Community Council is an important community-driven catalyst for human capital development, business and industry in this region,” Dr. Dyer said.
She further noted that the HEART Trust/NTA partnership with the EVC is to ensure that the training needs for residents located in central Jamaica are being met.
“Through this partnership, we are responding to the human capital development needs of the people of central Jamaica. We are redesigning and implementing programmes that will directly meet the demands of the bauxite and mining industries, as well as existing operations, such as maintenance, and the strategic needs of JISCO/Alpart and the EVC,” said Dr. Dyer.
Under the programme, EVC employees will be required to demonstrate their competencies on the job for a duration of four months and will benefit from Level Two HEART Trust/NTA Certification on completion of the programme, in the areas of general construction, housekeeping, mechanical maintenance, electrical maintenance, plumbing and customer service.
Dr. Dyer noted that as part of the programme, HEART Trust/NTA will be conducting assessments of 500 JISCO/Alpart employees to ensure that they meet the employment requirements, as well as to fulfil upskilling opportunities, as some of the individuals who have been employed to the organisation for a number of years have not acquired the proper certification.
“Our commitment is to work closely with the EVC to carefully assess the training needs and gaps, so we can respond quickly to the requirements of JISCO/Alpart and other industries that will spin off from this investment,” she added.
Giving an overview of the programme, Operations Manager at the EVC, Camilla Rochester, informed that the programme was born out of the need to certify long-standing staff members.
“We have recognised that our employees are knowledgeable about their jobs, and have amassed several years of experience in their different fields, but there is a gap as it relates to certification. The EVC Employee Certification Programme, therefore, provides a prime opportunity for all employees to earn nationally recognised skills certification through the HEART Trust/NTA, thereby adding value to the work which our employees are involved in,” Mrs. Rochester said.
“Assessment will be done on the job, not in a classroom setting. Employees will also benefit from getting certified within a relatively short period than if they were to enrol at one of HEART’s training centres. Certification also comes at a minimal cost for employees, as they will pay $1,500 while the EVC will pay (an additional) $2,000 per employee. The total cost to the EVC is approximately $2 million,” Mrs. Rochester said.
Meanwhile, persons who are participating in the initiative are lauding the programme as a step in the right direction and the opportunity they have been waiting for to improve their qualifications as well as the quality of life for their families.
Landscaper at JISCO Alpart, Suzette Wright, said the programme is a “blessing for the community of Nain”.
“Some persons have the skill, but do not have the requisite certification along with the skill, so having the skill, as well as the document, will be a good thing,” she said.
For his part, general maintenance practitioner at JISCO/Alpart, Krishna Jones, who is currently participating in the programme, said that it has been a great experience, so far.
“Participating in this programme is wonderful for me because I have been working in the mines for over two years as a mechanical person, but I was not certified. I do my job to the best of my ability, and that is why I was selected by my supervisors to take part in this programme. It is a plus for me,” Mr. Jones informed.