The New Horizon Youth Skill Training Facility, based in Wynter’s Pen, Spanish Town, can now offer a fully enhanced Computer Aided Engineering training programme giving students the chance to study Engineering Trades with NCTVET HEART certifications through a J$4.5 million partnership with the Digicel Foundation.
The training facility – which targets at-risk youths in the Spanish Town area – has been training students in welding, fabrication, electrical installation, plumbing, and literacy and numeracy skills since it launched its programme in February 2007.
One of the pieces of equipment that the Digicel Foundation purchased was a fully computerised robotic plasma cutter which will produce Computer Aided Drawings in the design of metal works. These drawings will allow students to use the computerised robotic plasma cutter to produce intricate metal works to the students’ specifications. What used to take days by hand to complete, will now take minutes – with the simple touch of a button.
The students will be exposed to working and building various machines for industrial use, which will also utilise interesting designs of renewable, sustainable and appropriate technologies. Designs for everything from beekeeping equipment, ram pumps that pump water without electricity; wind and micro-hydro turbines; peanut shellers to grass chafers for animal feed – will all be fabricated at New Horizons by the student. With this Level One certification, students can seek employment or even start their own business.
The computerised plasma cutter machine has also significantly reduced the time it takes to train students on the production of machinery. Whereas it would previously have taken up to 18 months to train a worker up to the level needed to produce any complex design, the same design can now be produced within a day or so.
The official handover took place during a ceremony held at the training facility this morning where New Horizons Executive Director, Michael Barnett, spoke about the support.
“With 100 students already trained in HEART NVQ-J Level One certified skills, this latest addition is a major boost to the facility. The donation from the Digicel Foundation has come in several forms – all of which were vital. We have upgraded the flooring of our facility, and made some electrical improvements too, and we have seen a significant improvement of quality of life for our students.
“However, the main difference has undoubtedly been made by the donation of several pieces of essential equipment with the biggest gift being the plasma cutter. We are used to doing all our metal work by hand, which is both a lengthy and painstaking process, but this modern piece of equipment is computerized and can be used for highly complex designs.
“With the Digicel Foundation’s partnership, we will next year be rolling out 40 to 50 pre-designed pieces of machinery across Jamaica, helping us to ramp up entrepreneurial spirit amongst our students – as well as helping the Jamaican community at large,” concluded Barnett.
Digicel Foundation Executive Vice Chairman, Major General Robert Neish, said; “The Digicel Foundation is always for looking for sustainable projects – particularly those which involve the education and development of Jamaica’s youth. As such, we are thrilled to be here today to see first hand the benefits that this donation to the New Horizon facility has made to its staff and students.
“We would like to commend them on their work to date and wish them continued success,” he continued.