JIS News

The Jamalco bauxite company has collaborated with the HEART Trust/NTA to provide skills training for 1,700 young people, who, on graduation, will be eligible for employment under the company’s plant expansion programme.
Jamalco’s Managing Director, Alberto Fabrini, in his address at a stakeholders’ breakfast forum held on Friday (March 10) at the company’s Halse Hall location in Clarendon, informed that 190 welders and 66 electricians were being trained at Jamalco’s Breadnut Valley facility in the parish. “Out of that, 130 welders and all 66 electricians will be graduated by April”, he said.
The training of electricians and welders is part of an overall programme being carried out in collaboration with the HEART Trust, to provide a skilled and certified workforce for Jamalco’s expansion project, which will be executed over the next two to three years.
“Today .being trained for this project and for others, we have approximately 1,700 persons. These persons, after the training is completed, will be the skilled professionals that can work anywhere in the Caribbean and the world so it’s a major achievement,” he stated.
Robert Green, Director for Strategic Workforce Development at the HEART/Trust, informed that 130 welders and all the electricians have completed the key units of training required by Jamalco, and were now ready for the “early works” segment of the project.
“We are actually recruiting another group of persons as we speak .and those persons who go to work, will come back on a part time basis to complete their full level 3 competency training as is offered by the NCTVET (National Council on Technical Vocational Education and Training),” he explained.
Mr. Green said that HEART was successful in referring at least 534 persons from different skill areas, to the early segment of the project. “The greater challenge, however, is to meet the target of approximately 3,000 workers when the project peaks next year. We are working feverishly towards that,” Mr. Green said.
Berry Moody, Project Manager at Fluor, the international engineering and construction company, which will manage the expansion project, said that while some work had already started, “we expect the major project to really get underway later this year and full steam ahead in January.”
He assured that as many Jamaicans as possible would be utilized on the project. “Alcoa (the parent company) and Jamalco have given me a challenge that everybody on the expansion project in the field is going to be Jamaican, so that’s going to be our effort and we’re talking about a 2,800 to 3,000 people,” he said.
Meanwhile, Donald Foster, Chief Technical Director at the HEART Trust, informed that training for the project was being undertaken at nine institutions across the island, including the National Tools and Engineering Institute (NTEI).
He added that there was partnership with private partners such as the Power Services Company Limited, Building Innovation Company Technology Institute of Jamaica, and Solid Rock Industrial Training and Development Institute.
The Jamalco expansion project is a US$1.3 billion investment, which should result in the plant doubling its refining capacity, moving from the current 1.25 million tonnes of alumina per year to 2.8 million tonnes.
It is expected to take about 28 months for construction and start-up, with another six months for commissioning.
The first phase of the project, which should be completed by year-end, will see an upgrade of the company’s capacity by approximately 150,000 tonnes. On May 5, 2005, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson officially broke ground for the expansion project, which represents the single largest investment in the Jamaican economy and also the largest investment in the history of Jamaica’s bauxite and alumina industry.

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