Windalco invests $8m in scholarship programme
Sixty-three students residing in St Catherine, Manchester and St Ann are beneficiaries of the 2020 annual Windalco local scholarship and grants programme.
The programme, which has been running for more than a decade, has seen more than $100 million going to benefit more than 800 students so far, who reside within the company’s operational areas, with their education.
This year the company invested another $8 million in support of tertiary education in Jamaica, benefiting 13 students from mining areas in St Ann, 10 from communities surrounding its Port Esquivel facility in Old Harbour, 10 from communities close to its Kirkvine works in Manchester, and six from the Corporate Area. Twenty-four students were given cash grants to assist them in furthering their tertiary education.
Davia Gyles from Ewarton in St Catherine, currently a third-year nursing student at The University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Nursing, who has maintained a 3.51 grade point average (GPA), expressed gratitude for being awarded the grant for the first time.
“I am extremely grateful to Windalco for this gesture. It will go a far way in assisting with my boarding accommodation or tuition. I must emphasise the importance of this assistance in a time when some parents have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus virus pandemic,” she told The Gleaner, adding that she plans to serve her country on the front lines in the fight against the virus, after graduation.
Third-year medical student at The UWI School of Medicine, Jerome Gentles, who hails from Wilderness in Manchester, said he could not be more grateful for receiving the grant for the third consecutive year.
“I am very grateful for this assistance. With an annual tuition fee of US$28,000 and with a rising dollar that puts additional burden on us, gestures such as this is of great importance,” stated Gentles, who claimed he has no thoughts of going overseas on completion of his studies.
IMPACT OF PANDEMIC
According to Windalco’s Director of Human Resources Glendon Johnson, the coronavirus has created a great need for students, making the assistance more necessary.
“The novel coronavirus has impacted almost every household in Jamaica and it was therefore important for us as a company to assist as many students as we could to enable them to carry on their education, despite the financial challenges,” he said.
Johnson added that while the company was facing its own challenges, providing financial support to Jamaica’s students is a mandate that must be honoured.
For students to be qualified for this scholarship and grants programme, those already in tertiary institutions must maintain a 3.0 GPA average; those coming out of high schools must be successful in eight subjects with grades one and two in the Caribbean School Education Certificate, including mathematics and English, to be considered.
Some students who have not met the criteria are also given assistance according to their financial needs.