Courts furnishing Jamaicans with education
For the past 19 years, Courts Jamaica has donated over J$200 million in scholarships.
It was in 1986 that Courts implemented the Junior Management Programme (JUMP) as a corporate outreach effort. The programme was open to second-year students from the University of Technology, who were given an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in Courts' operations. At the end of the programme, they were presented with scholarships based on their performance on the job.
Ten years later, the Manufacturers' Apprenticeship Development Exercise (MADE) was developed to give fourth-form students from technical high schools the opportunity to gain experience in their field of study. The main objective of the programme was to help participants develop their skills, and become more focused, professional and motivated.
In June 2011, Courts Customer Scholarship was launched, replacing the JUMP and MADE programmes. The 'new' scholarship seeks to provide financial assistance for the educational goals of needy customers or their dependents.
Dennis Harris, managing director of Courts, said under the various scholarship programmes, over 2,200 bright, young Jamaicans have been able to complete their tertiary or high-school education.
"We are proud to say that several have graduated with distinctions in their course of study and have either taken, or are preparing to take their place in society," he said. The Courts scholarships are in three categories: secondary, for students who have sat the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT); tertiary, for students at any level of their tertiary education; and skills training, for persons who want to pursue any skills training programme at the national skills training institute - HEART Trust/NTA. Twenty-nine GSAT scholarships (one from each branch), and 10 scholarships each for the tertiary and skills training categories are awarded annually.
GSAT awardees receive $100,000 each, while six tertiary bursary recipients collect $250,000 each. Four full-time tertiary scholarship awardees receive $400,000 for four years, and the 10 skills training scholarship recipients receive $50,000 each. To be eligible, applicants must be a Courts customer or the dependent of a Courts customer. The customer must have shopped at Courts within the last five years of applying for the scholarship and their account must be in good standing.
GSAT students must have passed the test with an overall average of 85 per cent, or higher, to be considered. Tertiary students must either be accepted to, or are registered students at, a recognised tertiary institution. New students must have at least five or more CSEC subjects and a minimum of four CAPE units, or the equivalent, while students already enrolled must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, or maintained a B-plus average. Skills training applicants must have completed secondary school and have at least two CXC subjects. Tertiary and skills training applicants must also produce two letters of recommendation and a personal statement giving reasons for needing the scholarship. All applicants must show they have genuine financial need.
The deadline for scholarship applications for this year was July 7, with Courts reporting over 1,500 applications across all categories. On August 13, 49 more individuals will receive scholarships from the retail company in a ceremony at The Knutsford Court Hotel.