Vehicle simulator training for Flanker

JDF's Technology Training Institute to implement programme

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, July 11, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang has announced plans to install a vehicle training simulator, costing roughly $60 million, at Flanker Training Institute in St James by September this year to provide training for youth across western Jamaica.

The training, which will focus on the operation of articulated vehicles and heavy duty equipment, will be faciliated by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Technology Training Institute (TTI).

The TTI is one of the Centres of Exellence for technical training in the JDF.

“What we will be doing at this centre in the heart of Flanker, is to install one of the vehicle training simulator that we have at the Caribbean Maritime University. It's a very valuable piece of equipment and you can certify drivers of articulated vehicles and heavy duty equipment on that machine. The cost, I can tell you, is near J$60-million to purchase and install. There is major demand for people who are trained in this kind of operations, both locally and internationally,” Dr Chang told the Jamaica Observer.

“It (simulator) is already built, we have paid for it. It's built by a company in California, USA and should be here in time to be installed in September and then we proceed full speed ahead after that,” he added.

He argued that the training programme will provide inner city youth, who are prime candidates for recruitment into gangs and other illegal activities, with a viable option.

“You can get them (youths) into that type of training which offers them job opportunities, gives them good quality earnings and by having oversight by the JDF, you begin to change the behaviour pattern as well, which is what we need to do to ensure they not only get a good job, but also be good ambassadors for Jamaica wherever they go,” said Dr Chang, who is also the Member of Parliament for the St James North Western constituency.

The security minister, who was speaking with the Observer West following a tour of the Flanker Training Institute, also announced that a branch of the Jamaica National Service Corps will be housed at the Cornwall Automotive School in Flanker.

“We are moving to establish a full formation of the National Service Corps (JNSC) in Montego Bay. We did 1, 500 before. We want to go up to 4,000, so we are moving to take over the Cornwall Automotive school and convert it as a part of the Jamaica National Service Corps,” Dr Chang said.

“It is in close proximity to the Second Battalion, (the Burke Barracks of the Jamaica Defense Force in Flanker). There will be full training there. It will be residential, and we have to do some adjustment, so we came to look at the property,” Dr Chang explained.

“We know that we have a particular problem of keeping the young men engaged in productive activity. The survey we did in Montego Bay, and it still holds, shows that nearly 70 per cent of our young males drop out [of school] by grade nine and therefore you have a body of people who are easily recruited into the wrong field - the gang culture. And, of course, the underworld economic activities in St James is also quite lucrative so what we have to find is something that is attractive to young men.”

In May, speaking at the opening ceremony for the JDF's Burke Barracks accommodation in Montego Bay, which serves as the new home of the Second Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment (2JR), Chang announced that the JDF would be expanding the JNSC to western Jamaica.

The JNSC was established in 2017 as part of Government's Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE), which aims to provide educational and job opportunities for young people.


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