By Christopher Tobutt
It was a milestone, not only for Superior Auto, who have consistently, and over many years, taken on apprentices in auto mechanics, but also for the Cayman Islands, because at last, the Island has its very own apprenticeship training facility. It was a story of a dream finally turning into reality.
Superior Auto Apprenticeship Center is dedicated to providing the Cayman Islands with qualified automotive technicians and tradesmen with the required knowledge, skills and attitude to meet the needs of the automotive industry.
Pastor Bentley Robinson opened in prayer: “We pray Father for the great success of this program, we pray, O lord, for great wisdom, and knowledge and understanding, we pray you will protect all of those who will be involved.”
Master of Ceremonies Graham Crisp said: “Thank you for coming to celebrate this milestone; this wonderful occasion where an idea was born, and now it is in reality. I would like to congratulate Mark and Denise DeMercado for all their hard work. They did not quit on their dream of having a facility for the Caymanian youth, to be able to obtain a career in auto mechanics. They saw that there was a need for skilled auto mechanics on the island, and there was no recourse but to hire from abroad. It is upon this premise that Mark and Denise decided to establish a training programme to recruit and train locally.
“Superior Auto training program was established so students who are mechanically inclined can learn, work, and make discoveries. It will provide substantial and organic growth for this island. The fruits of the future mechanics, plumbers, carpenters and other skilled artisans would be produced right here in this Island.”
Denise DeMercado said: “When you’re inspired by some great purpose, your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world
“Today we cut the ribbon, and continue on our journey to deliver an internationally recognised and certified programme in automotive repair technology and other marketable skills, underpinned by the Jamaican-German Automotive School, JAGAS and Heart Trust.
Our students will learn mathematics and English, technical drawing and numerous courses of skills of an expanded programme including furniture-making, plumbing, air conditioning, and technology, to name a few. We have come this far because of all the individuals, agencies and stakeholders who took the time to believe in us; who have come to understand the value of our vision and walk with us.”
Just before the ribbon was cut,Education Minister Juliana O’ Connor-Connolly came to praise the hard work, vision, and dedication to Cayman’s young people which was behind the new building and all it stood for.
She spoke about the need to invest in, and believe in young people, and issued a challenge too: “For far too long, we have talked, we have criticized, our young people. Will you commit to bringing your vehicles here for these young people to work on. Is your confidence level colossal enough?”
One of the previous students, Sean Reid said: “I went through the Superior Auto Training Programme and I graduated and I managed to move on after that and get employment at Cayman Airways. It was the Jamaican-German Automotive School course, and it covered every aspect you can think of, including suspension, air condition systems, gasoline and diesel engines, how to repair them, and how to diagnose them. I started in 2015 and I graduated in 2016.”
Two of the classrooms were named after two previous students, Damian Rose and David Ebanks, who both, sadly, passed on shortly after finishing their training.