The HEAVY DUTY VEHICLE REPAIR TRAINING PROGRAMME, a collaborative effort between the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) and the HEART TRUST/NTA was launched on Thursday, September 4 at the JUTC’s Lyndhurst Road Depot.

The programme which will be facilitated by the Jamaica German Auto School (JAGAS)will see students being taught with a view to deploying them to work with the JUTC.

Speaking at the ceremony, Transport Minister, Dr. Omar Davies said he was very pleased at the collaboration between the Ministries of Transport, Works & Housing and Education to make the programme a reality. Noting that the programme was a value to the citizens of Jamaica, Minister Davies said that young men who would otherwise be lured away into negative activities, were now getting the opportunity to become highly skilled professionals. He said that even though persons who, when they become qualified under the Programme are ‘attracted’ away by places such as Canada, he still saw it as a win/win situation for all concerned. In moving forward, the Minister said that he would like to see emphasis placed on the monitoring and accounting capabilities of the initiative.

For his part, Chairman of HEART TRUST, Dr. Moses Peart said he was very excited about the prospects for the Programme. He said the Programme in training mechanics and technicians to work on heavy units such as buses would allow Jamaicans to travel better. Dr. Peart used the opportunity to highlight the work that went into getting the physical plant ready and the procurement of tools to facilitate the training of the trainees. He said that the initiative was a demonstration of public/private partnerships as the private sector had also contributed to the programme. He encouraged the trainees to feel privileged as a lot was resting on their shoulders – he said that the end of the training, they would be empowered to be better income earners.

Also speaking at the Launch were, Hon. Rev. Ronal Thwaites, Minister of Education; Mr. Colin Campbell, Managing Director, JUTC; Dr. Garnett Roper, Chairman, JUTC; Dr. Wayne Wesley, Executive Director, HESART Trust/ NTA and Mr Andre Francis, Manager, JAGAS who performed MC duties.

Entertainment was provided by the HEART Trust/NTA Chorale.