Ninety-three persons from 18 communities across seven parishes have been trained and certified in advanced plumbing, leak detection and repairs under the Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) Alternative Livelihood Skills Programme (ALSP).
They will work in their communities for three months as utility wardens to ensure that residents have access to plumbers with leak detection and water conservation expertise. They will also receive toolkits to support their work.
On February 25, the trainees were presented with their Institute of International Recognized Qualification (IRRQ) for Specialised Training in Advanced Water Audit and Treatment, during a ceremony held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston
The training course also covered areas such as water auditing, soft skills and business development.
In his address at the ceremony, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Michael Henry, urged the graduates to continue learning and to excel in their new profession.
He said the training course is critical in light of the effects of climate change, which “(forces) us to manage water in many different forms.”
“Training utility wardens is one of the strategies we will use to monitor and manage the availability and delivery of potable water to our citizens… (They) will seek to manage the water availability, delivery…and monitor the quality of delivered product,” he pointed out.
Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said that the young people will be able to work with the National Water Commission (NWC) to carry out their trade and urged them to learn from the internship.
He noted that the ALSP programme is reaching at-risk youth, providing them with training and certification in several key areas.
He noted that in the last year, close to 1000 unattached young people were targeted under the initiative.
“This is a programme we hope to expand and we hope to see the successful development of the youth,” Mr. Sweeney said.
Valedictorian, Denese Austin, expressed gratitude for the training on behalf of her fellow graduates, noting that it will enhance their employability.
The training was delivered by Change Makers Limited with support from IIRQ and Industrial Solutions.
Two special sessions were conducted by Chief Executive Officer of Diaspora AI, Dr. Kala Fleming, covering topics such as advanced leak detection and the implementation of AI plumbing.
The entity uses emerging technologies to improve how water services are delivered across Africa and the Caribbean.
Other speakers at the function included Dr. Fleming; Acting Vice President, Divisional Operations Eastern, NWC, Dr. Phillipa Campbell Francis; Managing Director, Change Makers Limited, Samantha Chantrelle; and graduates Tavajay Tennant, Bryan Campbell and Kenton Billings.
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