Sun | Dec 4, 2016

Scholarship programme eases financial burden

Published:Friday | January 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

When Sasha-Gaye Wilson got the call that she was the recipient of the New Era Homes 2000 Limited's Inaugural Scholarship, all her financial worries went through the door.

The first-year civil engineering student at the University of Technology (UTech), who will receive $1 million per year during her four years at the institution, said it has been a tedious journey for her family.

She was speaking with The Gleaner following the scholarship presentation that was held at the UTech yesterday.

"It's comforting to know that I don't have to worry about how I'm going to fulfil my financial obligations. I had to get a job because my family could not afford it. The plan initially was to work and go to school, but I can now focus on my academics. It's such a blessing," said the 23-year-old from Grants Pen in St Andrew.

Wilson's mother, Sandra Linton, was overwhelmed with joy as she spoke with The Gleaner. The trained teacher, who is now unemployed, said she was unable to provide any financial assistance for her daughter.

"I couldn't even go to the function, because I just couldn't find the bus fare," Linton said.

"I remember when she was to graduate from secondary school, I could not afford it and she had to stay home, that's how tough things have been. We were so worried how things would work out for her tertiary studies, but deep down we knew God would come through for us," she said.

Linton added: "Growing up in this community (Grants Pen), oftentimes you feel as if there is no hope, but I always encouraged her to put her best foot forward and today, we are reaping the rewards. I am so happy."

Omario Jones, who was the other recipient of the scholarship, said he was inspired to pursue success.

"When I was registering and I saw the $205,000 for the first semester, I became so worried. There was a lot on my mind because when I thought about rent plus school supplies, I honestly did not have the first cent, but this has made such a difference," he said.

OPPORTUNITY TO WORK

Desmond Young, vice-president of the New Era Homes 2000 Limited, noted that in addition to funds being provided for the students, they would have the opportunity to work at the company every summer.

"We don't want it to be case a where we are just issuing money. I believe funding initiatives should be sustainable and holistic," he said.

"In our discussions, we realise that there was a struggle in placing students in suitable construction companies, and I have conducted several interviews and I realise that many young engineers do not understand [the] basic requirements. We want to ensure that when students get their degree they would have already been in the frame of mind and prepared for the working world," Young told The Gleaner.