- JUTC and the HEART Trust/NTA will spend a combined total of $284 million to establish a world-class heavy duty vehicle repair and training facility at the bus company’s Lyndhurst Road depot.
- Under the partnership, auto-mechanics will be trained by the HEART Trust/NTA’s Jamaican-German Automotive School (JAGAS), to rehabilitate defunct buses owned by the JUTC.
- Chairman of the JUTC, Dr. Garnett Roper, said the partnership is expected to save the state-owned bus company million of dollars.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and the HEART Trust/NTA will spend a combined total of $284 million to establish a world-class heavy duty vehicle repair and training facility at the bus company’s Lyndhurst Road depot.
Under the partnership, auto-mechanics will be trained by the HEART Trust/NTA’s Jamaican-German Automotive School (JAGAS), to rehabilitate defunct buses owned by the JUTC.
Chairman of the JUTC, Dr. Garnett Roper, said the partnership is expected to save the state-owned bus company million of dollars.
Dr. Roper was speaking on September 4 at the launch of the training programme, which will see the first cohort of 25 auto-mechanics commencing training this month at JAGAS.
He informed that the programme was conceptualised as a cheaper alternative to the proposal of sending the buses to Brazil for rehabilitation.
Under the initiative, the HEART Trust/NTA will spend $80 million to upgrade the Lyndhurst Road depot for the establishment of the heavy duty vehicle repair, refurbishment and advanced training facility.
For its part, the JUTC will expend almost $204 million to furnish the project site with the required sophisticated heavy duty equipment and tools, sourced from Europe.
The training and repair facility will be operated by level three certified mechanics, pursuing advanced level four, international recognised training and certification, while producing repaired and refurbished buses for the JUTC.
Dr. Roper said the project is a “win-win for all”, as it will see a Jamaican workforce trained and certified to international standards, while stimulating employment, creating investment, and contributing to improved productivity and competitiveness.
He noted that the facility will cover the entire gamut of services, ranging from the initial diagnosis and appraisal of vehicles to electronics, drive training and transmission, suspension, steering, body work and engine repairs.
“We believe that the need for re-manufacturing of derelict buses ought to provide an opportunity for Jamaicans to be trained at optimal levels in all areas of bus refurbishing,” he said.
Dr. Roper said it is expected that in the future, the facility will be expanded to offer much needed services to clientele from the public and private sectors, as it becomes a self-sustaining revenue centre.
Minister of Transport and Works, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, welcomed the commencement of the programme, which he said, has been in gestation for almost two years.
He said there are further opportunities for partnership with the HEART Trust/NTA, particularly as it regards the training of highly skilled personnel at the country’s ports.
The Transport Minister urged the trainee mechanics to make good use of this important opportunity, as it promises to make them much more marketable and highly skilled professionals.
“This should be an indication to you that we value you and we have invested scarce resources to take you to the next level,” he said.
For his part, Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites said the venture is in keeping with the Ministry’s focus on elevating technical and vocational competencies to their rightful place alongside academic studies.
“Mastering technical and vocational subjects is the way of the modern world. It is where you are going to get jobs. It’s where you are going to add growth to your own asset base and also to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of this country,” he said.
In his remarks, Board Chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA, Dr. Moses Peart, noted that the trainees are “first class”, pointing out that they were selected through an extremely competitive and rigorous process.
He noted that the programme does not stop at training, but also involves preparing Jamaican workers to become much greater income earners.
“You must, therefore, consider yourselves privileged to be the guinea pigs to start this programme. You are the ones who will set the reputation of this programme and your successes will speak volumes for the programme going forward, paving the way for others to come,” Dr. Peart told the mechanics.