Jean Dallsas, Warehouse Manager at Courts, giving some of the Manufacturer's Apprenticeship Development Exercise (MADE) students a tour of the branch warehouse facilities. This was done as part of the orientation exercise at the head office for the students who will be participating in the scholarship programme this year.
LAST YEAR over $1.2 million was disbursed by Courts (Jamaica) Ltd. for scholarships to students from various educational institutions. This year will see a slight increase in the figure, as the company continues to demonstrate its commitment to the development of education in Jamaica.
For the past 13 years, Courts has been offering students at tertiary institutions scholarships to complete their education through the Junior Management Programme (JUMP). The students from community colleges and universities across the island are selected based on interviews conducted by Courts personnel and the respective schools' scholarship co-ordinators.
Students who are accepted get an opportunity to work at Courts branches islandwide to gain work experience in their particular field of study. They benefit from the hands on training they receive at the stores by working in the areas of customer service, sales, credit, marketing and finance.
The schools that participate have expressed gratitude over the years at the calibre of training these students receive. Most schools report that the students who come back from the programme have a different approach to their studies and go on to excel in many subjects.
"This is a unique experience for the students who have participated from Utech over the years. They have not only benefited from the monetary rewards for summer employment and scholarships, but have gained invaluable experiences from their exposure to work and work ethics," said Dottie Higgins, Scholarship Co-ordinator at the University of Technology.
Based on the success of the JUMP programme, a Manufac-turers Apprenticeship Develop-ment (MADE) programme was designed for the students of technical institutions across the island. The students go through a similar selection process as the JUMP students but they get the opportunity to work with some of Courts' furniture suppliers as apprentices learning the trade firsthand. This was started five years ago and to date more than 40 students have benefited.
The main objective of the two programmes is to foster a positive attitude to work and this is usually demonstrated by the level of activities the students are involved in at the extra curricular level and also the grades they receive during the term.
Scholarships are awarded to the most successful students who perform well on the job and on a project they are assigned at the end of the work period at Courts or its suppliers.
According to Courts, by investing in these students (who usually fall within the 14-22 year-old bracket), it helps to ensure that they become productive citizens and play a key role in the society.