The governments of Jamaica and Brazil on Thursday (September 23) signed a contract worth approximately US$5 million for the expansion and refurbishing of the Portmore branch of the HEART Trust/NTA in St. Catherine.
Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, during a press briefing at the Ministry’s office in Kingston, signed the bilateral agreement on behalf of the government while Ambassador of Brazil to Jamaica, His Excellency, Alexandre Rubem Gueiros, signed for his country.
The project is expected to begin as early as October and should be completed within 24 months.
Brazil’s National Industrial Training Service (SENAI) is providing the majority of the funding, with HEART/NTA contributing approximately $139,000 in cash and technical and management expertise.
Director, Projects and Planning, HEART Trust/NTA, Elizabeth Terry (left) shakes hands with Ambassador of Brazil to Jamaica, His Excellency, Alexandre Rubem Gueiros (right), following the signing of a bilateral agreement for expansion works at the Portmore branch of the HEART Trust/NTA in St. Catherine at the Ministry’s office in Kingston on Thursday (September 23). At centre is Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness.
Minister Holness said the government is pleased to be partnering with the Brazilian government in “this very important project,” which signifies a new era of co-operation between the two countries in the field of education, specifically skills and vocational training.
Ambassador Gueiros, in his remarks, stated that the bilateral agreement marks a further step in strengthening the ties between Jamaica and Brazil, adding that the two countries have had a long and prosperous relationship that went as far back as the 1960s.
“It is our firm intention and decision to increase and deepen the bilateral relations between Brazil and Jamaica in new areas, particularly in the field of education. We have been discussing with the Ministry of Education ways to increase this co-operation and extend it to new areas and this is the first major step in this direction,” he remarked.
Director, Projects and Planning, HEART Trust/NTA, Elizabeth Terry, informed that the upgrading project will allow Portmore HEART to offer high level training and certification in the areas of masonry, finishing, locksmith works, welding, carpentry, water and gas works, telecommunications, cabinet making, and electricity, better enabling the institution to respond to needs in a number of sectors, particularly the hospitality industry.
“We want to respond particularly to the growth of the hotels on the north coast, especially within the last few years. The requirements for technicians in the area currently go beyond the facilities and the expertise that HEART has to offer,” she noted.
Mrs. Terry further informed that the development is in line with the plans for the transformation of HEART into workforce and technical and vocational education training (TVET) colleges. “The HEART team is really excited about this development and we are anxious to begin,” she said.
She informed that a Brazilian mission team from SENAI will visit the island on October 11, after which work on the project will begin.