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PetroCaribe presents $2.9 million in scholarships to UTech students

PetroCaribe presents $2.9 million in scholarships to UTech students

Eleven students of the University of Technology (UTech) were presented with scholarships sponsored by the PetroCaribe Development Fund (PCDF) valued at $2.9 million at a ceremony at the university’s main campus in St. Andrew on Wednesday February 21, 2018.

Seven of the students were from the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy and Climate Change programme, and the other four from the Bachelors in Entrepreneurship programme. They were presented with the scholarships under the Tertiary Scholarship Programme administered by Ministry of Finance and Planning and financed by the PCDF.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Dr. Wesley Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of the PetroCaribe Development Fund explained that one of the strategic objectives of the Fund was “to use of the resources of the Fund to contribute to Jamaica’s economic and social transformation.”

Dr. Hughes noted that since its establishment in 2006, the Fund spent approximately $1 billion been spent on human capital development. Some of the major areas include:

  • $200 million on tertiary-level scholarships via the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
  • $210 million on 50 scholarships to mark the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence  in 2012
  • $402 million currently being invested in the building of a Festo Authorised and Certified

Training Centre at the Caribbean Maritime University. This is to create a world-class training facility in robotics, mechatronics and automotive engineering.

He said the Fund was committed to investing more in human capital as long as the resources were available.

President of UTech, Prof. Stephen Vasciannie commended the PCDF for offering scholarships in areas which he said were “critical to Jamaica’s forward march towards achieving the National 2030 Vision of achieving developed country status”. He also congratulated the students on being selected for the awards which were based on their attainment of at least a 2.27 Grade Point Average (B Average) and their being in good standing with the university.

Commenting on behalf of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Kellian Garrick noted that the Ministry had aligned its programmes to key growth industries that will advance Jamaica under the Vision 2030 Development Plan.

Mrs. Garrick noted that while the awards involved a bonding element in which students were required to remain in Jamaica for a period of time, she challenged the awardees to find creative ways to assist the less fortunate with their education.

Responding on behalf of the Masters students, Richard Lawrence expressed gratitude to the PCDF. “We are committed not only to being part of the academic programme, but to contributing to the development of the country”, he stated.

Entrepreneurship student Kadie Mundell also thanked the PCDF for investing in Jamaica’s young people. “The future is bright for entrepreneurs because they light up the pathway for Jamaican businesses. With this gift we are contributors to this pathway”, she added.