JIS News

The first set of 23 heavy duty mechanics, who were selected in October 2008, by a team from the Coast Mountain Bus Company in Vancouver, Canada, under the Okanagan College (Operation 120) Programme, departed the island on December 5.
The company, which has a fleet of 1,200 buses, forged a partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security earlier this year, as they sought to hire a number of workers from Jamaica in this category.
At the departure ceremony, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Pearnel Charles, urged the workers to use the opportunity to improve Jamaica’s image internationally, irrespective of the fact that it would not be an easy road.
“We are sending 23 of our most skilled Jamaicans in the Auto Field (Heavy Duty Mechanics) to Canada, to assist the Canadian Government and their people in the transport system. I want to charge you that you are ambassadors for this country, all of you represent a dream…and all the obstacles that you meet you have to ride them, because you are not there on your own, but representing someone,” Mr. Charles emphasised.
He warned the workers that their best effort is expected, as they would be closely monitored from Jamaica and in Canada. He also encouraged the workers to pave the way, so that other Jamaicans could follow.
“You are not going to find everything smooth…prepare yourselves for obstacles. I want a team of heavy duty mechanics leaving here as a solid group of organized Jamaicans. I want you to set the stage, so that we can get some more to follow,” the Minister said.
In response to the Minister’s words of encouragement, Christopher Ramsey, a representative for the group of mechanics, thanked the Government for the opportunity, and assured that they would work hard.
“I want to say thanks to the Government and we assure you that we are going to make Jamaica proud of us. We are going to work hard, to ensure that they will need many more of us there in all different fields. So, I am calling on my colleagues to come together and operate as a team and help each other and make sure all of us succeed,” he said.
The 23 workers will be working with the Vancouver Coast Mountain Bus Company in Canada. On arrival in Canada, they will first do an eight- week course, during which they will sit the Canadian Red Seal examination, which is the highest skill qualification in Canada. This qualification will allow the workers to be paid at the same rate as Canadian skilled workers.

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