Twenty-seven young engineers who went to China recently for advanced training are now employed at the Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO/Alpart plant in Nain, St. Elizabeth.
Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, made the disclosure at a welcome reception for the engineers held at Jamaica House on Thursday (January 3).
They are among 52 recent engineering graduates from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the University of Technology (UTech), the University of the West Indies (UWI), and Northern Caribbean University (NCU), who left the island in March 2018 to undergo training in the Asian country.
The other 25 engineers, who are still in China completing a course in powerhouse technology and operations, will complete their programme by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
Minister Henry said that they too will begin full-time employment at JISCO/Alpart upon their return.
He said that the investment in the training and employment of local talent will reduce the need for foreign engineers at the plant.
“The engineers have not only been trained in the operation of state-of-the-art industrial equipment and the latest heavy industrial technologies, but are now fluent in both spoken and written Mandarin, which was an integral component of their overseas experience,” he pointed out.
Managing Director, JISCO/Alpart Jamaica, Zhang Jun, said the company has chosen to invest in the young people as part of its sustainability strategy.
“Our investment in JISCO/Alpart Jamaica is a long-term investment and the training of the 52 engineers is strategic for our long-term sustainability. Currently, all our managers at the refinery, port and our mining operations are Jamaicans,” he noted.
Darrian Bryson, who spoke on behalf of the participants, said the training they received has brought new insight into how they view the field of engineering.
“Our time in China was one that was very fulfilling. It was a great experience. I believe for all of us, going to China was something that we never really thought would happen, but when it did, most of us were excited,” he said.
He added that “overall, our Chinese experience was very good and we all came back with the necessary skills for us to progress at JISCO/Alpart and make them one of the leading producers of alumina in the Caribbean”.
The training programme was undertaken by JISCO at a total projected cost of US$3 million.