Some twenty-seven (27) young people have returned to the country to contribute to nation building following intensive high-tech training in advanced engineering in China.
The young Jamaicans who returned to the island on Monday, December 24, now qualify for immediate employment at the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO)-operated Alpart bauxite/alumina plant in Nain, St Elizabeth.
In March 2018, fifty-two (52) Jamaican engineering graduates from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the University of Technology (UTech), and the University of the West Indies (UWI) were selected by JISCO to undergo further training in China in the areas of industrial refinery and powerhouse operations. The training programme included academic studies at top universities; along with on-the-job apprenticeship within major companies.
The remaining twenty-five (25) engineers are to return early in the New Year upon completion of their period of training in powerhouse operations.
The twenty- seven engineers will be officially welcomed home by Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, who has responsibility for the implementation of the Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone that is being developed by JISCO at Alpart in St. Elizabeth.
Minister Henry says, “all the participants who successfully complete the programme will begin full-time employment at JISCO upon their return, which will reduce the need for foreign engineers at the plant”.
“The engineers have not only been trained in the operation of state-of-the-art industrial equipment and the latest heavy industrial technologies but are now fluent in both spoken and written Mandarin, which was an integral component of their overseas experience”, explained Minister Henry.
The Jamaica-Gansu Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone, which is expected to generate approximately 60,000 jobs, is pivotal to Jamaica’s Logistics Hub Initiative (LHI) development, which is being spearheaded by the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority (JSEZA).
“The Government is working to make a positive impact. This programme to upskill our Jamaican talent is just one of the many positive things being done. I hope that the potential negative implications of a particular political misstatement of the past, as well as ongoing labour relations challenges at Alpart, do not retard the growth and expansion of the bauxite operation and an associated broader industrial development which collectively promises a great future for the graduates themselves and the country at large”, added Minister Henry.
The St Elizabeth zone is one of the three largest economic zones being developed by the authority in the country. The others are the Caymanas Special Economic Zone in St. Catherine and the Vernamfield Aerotropolis in Clarendon, the latter of which falls under the direct responsibility of Minister Henry.
The overall training programme has been undertaken by JISCO at a total projected cost of US$3 million.