Regional

Atkinson launches initiative to get construction workers certified

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter

Thursday, April 03, 2014    

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny - MORE than 150 persons drawn from the constituency of North Trelawny are expected to begin a nine-month training programme in construction at the HEART Trust/NTA Falmouth Vocational Training Centre, later this month.

The brainchild of Member of Parliament for the constituency, Patrick Atkinson, the initiative is geared at providing a cadre of certified workers for the construction sector.

Already, a number of persons from the constituency have signed up for the programme.

Upon completion of training, each successful participant will be presented with a Level 11 certificate in construction from the HEART Trust/ NTA.

The participants will be trained in carpentry, masonry, steelwork and general construction.

Atkinson, who recently launched the initiative at a function held at the William Knibb Educational Centre in Falmouth, said the project is being funded at a cost of $1.5 million from his Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

"Once the youngsters are trained and have certification they are going to need guidance through the job market. And so, we are going to keep them, almost as a little company, and we will canvass job opportunities for them. I intend to even advertise their availability — certainly with all the construction companies and with all the major projects going upon their behalf," Atkinson told the gathering at the launch.

"It is easier for me to advocate for a group of 150 people than for one, one, person at a time. Because when they (developers) are building a hotel they need dozens of carpenters, they need a whole pile of masons... they just don't need one carpenter and one mason to build 200 rooms."

Atkinson, who is also the attorney general, explained that he felt compelled to initiate the construction training programme following complaints from some constituents, that despite being skilled in construction work, they are still faced with difficulties to acquire jobs on some sites because they are not certified.

"When you are dealing with international firms like what you will have in many instances, they require that their workers are certified persons," Atkinson said, adding that the certified workers will also have the opportunity to gain employment in the foreign job market.

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