“This is an exceptional initiative that fits neatly into the larger socioeconomic picture of Jamaica’s recently achieved lowest employment rate in our country’s history”, said Minister of Industry Aubyn Hill as he delivered the keynote speech at the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation funded forklift training graduation ceremony.
The ceremony also featured Member of Parliament for St. Andrew Western Anthony Hylton, Project STAR co-chairman Keith Duncan, DECS Management CEO Sheldon Beckford, and participation by 20 outstanding graduates.
“This initiative is what changes Jamaica! It is a tremendous initiative led by the D&G Foundation that provides training opportunities for young people who would otherwise not have access to do so, and it demonstrates the foundation’s commitment to positively impacting the lives of our Jamaican people while enriching communities. Congratulations to the Red Stripe Company for training and certifying these young people. D&G, I’m so proud of you,” commended Minister Hill.
The first cadre of certified forklift operators, included one one woman and 19 men.
“We are proud to have partnered with DECS Management & Logistics Services Limited and Project STAR to certify 20 new forklift operators, and collaboratively, we plan to gain employment for all our graduates here today. This initiative has just begun, and though we are hosting this ceremony today, this is not the end,” said D&G Foundation director Dianne Ashton Smith.
“We look forward to training even more youths within vulnerable communities to make a significant impact in the manufacturing industry and to continue contributing to a thriving business landscape,” she added.
Three graduates received special commendation: Shenel Coke was named the ‘Most Improved Trainee’, Junior Lawrence was awarded the ‘Top Performing Trainee’ and copped another accolade as ‘Most Improved Trainee’, while Nicko Rhoden was honoured with the ‘Apex Civic Award’ as valedictorian..
“As graduates, you have gotten a trailblazing opportunity, and I want to congratulate you for the work you have done in the past few weeks, the example you have set for others, and the work you will do at your employing companies,”added Minister Hill.
Five graduates have secured full-time employment through DECS Management & Logistics Services Limited partnership with the foundation which is also actively seeking positions for the remaining members of the class.