- Fourteen persons have received vocational certification from the globally recognised City and Guilds Institute in London, England.
- The inaugural training programme, launched one-year ago, was jointly delivered by UTech and CMI.
- The first batch of participants, all males, completed the course in just over nine months, and received certificates and other awards.
Fourteen persons, who recently completed the training in automotive and marine vehicle repairs and painting, have received vocational certification from the globally recognised City and Guilds Institute in London, England.
The inaugural training programme, launched one-year ago, was jointly delivered by the University of Technology (UTech) and the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI).
It was undertaken in partnership with paint manufacturers, Edgechem Jamaica Limited and provided participants with working knowledge of industry products and standards, as well as the safe and efficient methods involved in performing a wide range of activities in automotive and transport vehicle painting and repairs.
The first batch of participants, all males, completed the course in just over nine months, and received certificates and other awards, during a graduation ceremony held on Monday, January 27, at UTech, in St. Andrew.
State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, who was the guest speaker, noted that the programme was the first of its kind in the Caribbean, and was “a big step forward for Jamaica.”
She noted that, globally, paints and coatings are of considerable importance and as such, “the importance of this programme is not something to be glossed over.”
“Roughly 45 per cent of the coatings produced worldwide are used to decorate and protect new construction and maintain existing structures such as homes, public buildings, plants and factories. About another 40 per cent of the coatings are used to decorate and protect industrial products (product finishes). Of the remaining coatings (special purpose), most are used for applications such as traffic paints, vehicle finishing, high-performance coatings for industrial plants and equipment, and protection of marine plants and vessels,” the State Minister outlined.
This scenario, Mrs. Ffolkes-Abrahams argued, must be seen within the context of the development of Jamaica’s Global Logistics Hub, which she said, will impact “every part of our economy and everyone’s standard of living.”
She also pointed out that the logistics industry will involve virtually every type occupation, inclusive of areas incorporating engineering, tourism, security, retailing, warehousing, administration “and, of course, industrial painters.”
“Graduates, all of this means more jobs for you, and for others who, in due course, will be trained. It means also an opportunity for you to start your own businesses, and to employ and train others. Take your cue; for you today, the sky is the limit. You have gained a skill that will empower you for life; make it count. Continue the efforts to improve your lives, your communities, and in helping to build your country,” the State Minister urged.
She noted that the hub will also provide opportunities for “dynamic” companies such as EdgeChem, which, she pointed out, has grown in just over 22 years from an entity with two employees to one with a staff complement of 198; 15 retail outlets; and a sales portfolio of just over $1 billion.
“Ultimately, our Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) will be major participants in the logistics hub. This will depend, however, on the capacity of our indigenous MSMEs to overcome the constraints of newness, inexperience, smallness, and fear, and to continuously innovate and grow,” she underscored.
UTech’s Vice President, Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship, Professor Gossett Oliver, in commending the graduates, pointed out that “you… now…have qualification that you can display in your place of work… (as) you are now truly a professional painter.”
Executive Director of the CMI, Dr. Fritz Pinnock, welcomed the partnership among the entities, and assured that “together we are going to do great things for Jamaica.”
EdgeChem’s Chairman, William McLeod, said he was pleased with the outcome of the partnership. “We are blazing the path. We are the first company that is providing the facility for you (graduates) to get professionally certified qualification, and I hope that you will treasure and (understand) the importance of it,” he added.