Growth & Jobs | Ocho Rios Baptist/Rotary Skills Training Centre gets JN push
Twenty-three-year-old Sandra Davis is not bothered by the fact that she’s the only female enrolled in the plumbing programme offered by the HEART Trust/NSTA, in collaboration with the Ocho Rios Baptist Skills Training Centre and the Rotary Club of Ocho Rios. “Everybody is different, but I’m doing this course so that I can have a skill that I can earn from,” she said. Davis is among a cohort of 25 students who are participating in the course offered by the Ocho Rios Baptist/Rotary Skills Training Centre, which was revitalised following the repair and retrofitting of an existing 40-foot container used for training in practical plumbing. The repairs were facilitated by the JN Circle Ocho Rios, Port Maria and Gayle, through funding received from the JN Foundation.
The Brown’s Town High School graduate, who was formerly employed to a haberdashery, is determined to complete the course, so that she can be gainfully employed and be in a position to financially support her family. “This project is well needed in this area and we are glad we have re-established the centre. So we feel really good,” said Pixley Irons, a board member of the Ocho Rios Baptist Skills Training Centre, past president of the Rotary Club of Ocho and a JN Circle member. “We are grateful to Jamaica National for this. The vision is to train more persons in communities in St Ann and St Mary. I do hope that this flame will continue to grow,” he said.
The container was procured some 20 years ago with the intention of expanding a plumbing skills programme at the centre. However, without the finances to upgrade the container to facilitate the burgeoning programme that was accommodating only a few students annually, the container remained unused. Orlene McNeish, president of the JN Circle Ocho Rios, Port Maria and Gayle, said the project was selected because of the need for skills training in the parish, which she said lacks a “holistic environment” where young men and women can develop social or vocational skills. “So being in a church environment, our trainees will leave with a skill, but also with the social graces and other well-needed skills that could be passed on,” she said. Jennifer Martin, board member of the JN Foundation, said the objectives of the JN Foundation are to increase employment readiness and self-sufficiency through skills and personal development. “We believe that this donation to the church and Rotary Club of Ocho Rios will improve the skill set of the residents of St Ann, St Mary and their environs,” she said. The JN Circle is a network of JN members and customers who are empowered by JN to work together to improve their lives and the lives of Jamaicans everywhere.
The JN Foundation last year issued a call for proposals for projects that will improve communities. The foundation committed up to $1.5 million in financing for each project. The Ocho Rios Baptist/Rotary Skills Training Centre was one of seven projects that were awarded grants. The projects covered a range of social development, education and health initiatives in communities across six parishes.