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'I want to make my country a better place' - Budding engineers to study in China for a year

Published:Monday | March 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
Kemar Leslie
Jason Smith
Joseph Keaveny

The opportunity to study in China came as a surprise for 21-year-old Kemar Leslie, but it's an opportunity he promised to grasp in order to enhance his skills as a budding engineer.

The graduate of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMU) was among 52 graduates from The University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Technology (UTech), and the CMU who attended a courtesy call at Jamaica House last week after they were selected by China's Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company (JISCO)/Alpart.

Leslie said that he was even more overjoyed about the opportunity due to his deep love for technology.

"When I got the call from Alpart that they are going to be presenting me with an opportunity to go to China, I was so happy because I would have never imagined that. I have a deep love of technology, and China is a place where technology is very advanced," he said.

"My drive for advancing my career and being given this opportunity is really huge. I just hope I can absorb and learn everything so that I can make my country a better place. A lot of my friends are not even placed in a job, but I have been given this opportunity, and this can only mean good things for me. It's really a dream come true," he continued.

Jason Smith, who studied chemical engineering at the UTech, also said that the opportunity would go a long way in making him competitive and marketable.

"I am grateful because this will help me as a professional in engineering. I am pretty sure that I will be learning the culture of China and will be able to adapt a few things from their work ethic as well," Smith said.

"I have always loved tearing things apart and I love to solve problems. If I am approached with a problem, I am not comfortable or satisfied until I have found a solution, so engineering has always been my passion."

For Joseph Keaveny of the UWI, this will alleviate the stress of worrying about gaining some kind of experience when applying for jobs.

"This really came as a surprise for me. I wasn't expecting this. There are a lot of opportunities in Jamaica, but most organisations require years of experience, so this will help in that regard."