Tue | Sep 26, 2017

New lab, int'l possibilities - New JAGAS facility for training, jobs

Published:Sunday | September 4, 2016 | 9:00 AMNeville Graham
Dr Wayne Wesley, executive director of the HEART Trust/NTA (left), Maxine P. Wilson, chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA (second left), His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica (third left), Floyd Green, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (third right), Dr. Patricia Dunwell, Custos of St. Andrew (second right) and Andre Francis,mManager at the Jamaican German Automotive School stand before the recently commissioned mobile electronics lab at the JAGAS.
Andrew Faulkner (seated), final year student at the Jamaican German Automotive School (JAGAS), has the rapt attention of His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen, Governor General of Jamaica (second right) and Dr Wayne Wesley, executive director of the HEART Trust/NTA (right) as he explains the operations of the state-of the-art Degem autotronics system on Tuesday. Also observing are (left to right) Adrian Ferguson, senior instructor at JAGAS; Floyd Green, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; Dr. Patricia Dunwell, Custos of St. Andrew (partially hidden), Maxine P. Wilson, chairman of the HEART Trust/NTA and Andre Francis, manager at the Jamaican German Automotive School.
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The Jamaica German Automotive School (JAGAS) says it is now in a position to deliver world-class graduates, and if necessary, deliver that service to public clients. They took the wrappers off a state-of-the-art autotronics Laboratory on Tuesday at their Maxfield Avenue facility. Governor General Sir Patrick Allen cut the ribbon as the leadership at the training institution showed off the equipment.

Head of JAGAS, Andy Francis, says the HEART Trust-Affiliated institution spent more than $15 million on equipment and software alone in setting up the system. He says with this training, JAGAS graduates can conquer the world.

"What we do here is that our learners remain relevant. We want to know that if they go to Afghanistan, the UK, or anywhere in the world, they can perform like anybody else, " Francis said.

The advanced autotronics laboratory trains automotive technicians in the maintenance and repair of advanced components and complex systems found in modern vehicles. Francis says it is a full upgrade on a previous system that existed elsewhere in the HEART system.

"We had a lab at VTDI (Vocational Training and Development Institute) and that was transferred to here. It became outdated and the equipment became obsolete. Our research showed us that if we want to train persons to international standards, then it is important that we have the relevant technology to drive the training," Francis said.

The new six-station system was developed by Dagem from Israel. It will allow for the simulation of breakdown and normal operating scenarios in modern vehicles. The system carries a base station that it interfaces with stations wired and wirelessly. It also carries a real car kit that is placed on a test vehicle and which allows interface with the vehicle through its electronic control unit.

Francis feels that it is an investment that is well made. "Our investment in this system means that our learners, in a controlled environment, can work on any type of vehicle to do simulation and diagnose problems through simulation and solve those problems in the lab. We've invested in a 2016 Camry, a hybrid vehicle which will be hooked up to the system so that once the trainees are on the simulator, they can simulate activities on the car itself," Francis said.

He also says a training-based enterprise at JAGAS allows the school to take in jobs from members of the public. Francis says persons can make appointments, and when they come in, the repairs are done in-house or outsourced.

Francis says it is a win-win for both students and clients.

"The learners get a live opportunity to work on real vehicles instead of just a laboratory situation. They are doing this under the supervision of the training-based enterprise manager, their tutor, and the technicians, as well," Francis said.

Governor General Sir Patrick Allen cut the ribbon to officially open the electronics electrical mobile lab. It will be used to conduct training in consumer electronics repairs, including televisions, radios, component sets and amplifiers, and electrical installation. The lab will primarily be utilised in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine and on the north coast.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com