Nicholas Chambers making a living from plastic repairs
Nicholas Chambers was voted Most Innovative at the recently held Youth in Business grant presentation ceremony, held at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation.
He also earned the respect of his tutors and peers for his persistence and commitment, which saw him never missing a class in the programme, even as he had to deal with the death of his beloved grandmother.
Through Chambers Automotive and Plastic Welding Services, his dream is to take his company all the way to the top.
In Chambers' world, no one will ever have to throw away any wasted plastic - be it a burst water tank, mud guards, fender liner, bike fender - you name it, he can put it all back to together and make it as good as new.
"The process is the same as metal welding using rods ... it's pretty simple; it's a matter of applying the work," he told The Gleaner.
Chambers, who attended the Jamaica German Automatic School, said that after finishing school, he met a lady one day in Old Harbour who was handing out flyers.
"She wanted to get into a new market for her business ... and I ended up working for her and she taught me everything I know about the business," he said.
Eventually, that stint ended and Chambers said he applied the skill he was taught trying to eke out a living, but things were slow and he didn't have the necessary tools he needed to expand his reach.
"It was a struggle making enough to feed myself. I printed cards and tried to get to anyone who needed my kind of service," he said.
One day, Chambers saw Milton Brown, councillor for the Mineral Heights Division, and immediately started telling him about what he could do. He asked Brown if he knew anyone who needed mud guard or any plastic items to repair.
While he did not receive any clients from the councillor, he got something even better, a chance to be a part of the second phase of the Youth in Business programme that is powered by the Local Economic Development office of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation.
It was a godsend for him, as Chambers said he got the chance to learn about market research and to develop is his business.
"I didn't even know about the legal aspects of running the business," he confessed.
While he is thankful for the $150,000 grant he received, Chambers said it is still not enough to purchase all the equipment he needs to take his business where he wants it to go.
"It's a start, however, and I intend to make the most of it," said Chambers, a past student of Old Harbour and Spanish Town high schools.
He said it is a slow process, but he has patience. He is also reaching out to his young friends and encouraging them not to sit at home and complain that 'Nothing is going on'.
"I encourage you all to go out there and learn a trade. You won't make a lot of money right away, but if you continue, you will get there," he said.