JIS News

The US$800 million expansion project, to be undertaken at the Jamalco plant in Clarendon, is expected to create employment for thousands of residents of the Hayes community where the plant is located, in addition to persons in surrounding areas.
The company’s Managing Director, Jerome Maxwell, told JIS News that the three-year project would require the services of some 3,500 persons and where necessary, members of the surrounding communities would be trained to undertake jobs.
He noted that, a previous expansion project saw the importation of some 700 workers from other Caribbean territories, in particular Trinidad, as the requisite skills were not available locally. “We do not want a repeat of this”, he stated.
The skills training will be offered in collaboration with the HEART Trust/NTA at the company’s former mining facility at Bread Nut Valley and will target high school graduates and equip them with the requisite skills.
According to Mr. Maxwell, persons wishing to work on the expansion project may apply to the HEART Trust, after which they would be assessed by Jamalco. A “minimal” fee is charged through the HEART Trust and Jamalco provides the equipment and facility necessary for the training.
He added that persons would also be selected through community councils, which are organisations established by bauxite companies to help in fostering a good relationship with citizens in the surrounding mining communities.
In addition, persons who are skilled but unable to read, would receive assistance through the company’s documentation programme. Some 400 persons are currently being trained to read and write, Mr. Maxwell said, adding that persons were instructed in the context of their jobs. “We teach them to read the (architectural) drawings and measure things and how to do all they are required to do, so that they become self-sufficient (on the job),” he explained.
In addition to weekday classes held from Mondays to Fridays, Jamalco hosts weekend and evening sessions to provide training at the convenience of workers.Mr. Maxwell pointed out that his company was not just about making profit, but believes that it is also important to “give back to the community”. He noted that the company had assisted the community in establishing two canteens as part of the support services necessary in carrying out the company’s expansion project.
“It is a partnership”, Mr. Maxwell said of Jamalco’s relationship with its surrounding communities. He added, “It is a model we would like other private sector companies to adopt”.