Principal of the SJPI, Ian Drakes, and General Manager of Berger Paints Barbados Limited, Kirk King. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Berger Paints Barbados Limited (BPBL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI), to provide tutors and students with access to train, use and transform the automotive coating sector in Barbados.

Principal of the SJPI, Ian Drakes, and General Manager of Berger Paints Barbados Limited, Kirk King, signed the MOU at SJPI’s Auditorium, Wildey, St. Michael, today.  

Principal Drakes, in thanking BPBL for partnering with the institution, noted: “This really speaks volumes, that Berger Paints understands that if we want to invest in the youth in Barbados, then we start with the MOU….

“We are investing in the youth, not us adults, the youth and the future.  And a company that has been here from 1963, along with SJPI, which has been here for the last 52 years, speaks volumes to what we are really, as a national drive, attempting to do for the youth of this country, in a positive way.”

He continued: “This MOU, it speaks volumes to the development of not just painting, but development in terms of technologies, and as an Institute of Technology, we pride ourselves in living up to that.   We’ve been rebranding and we are also merging, and we are having these wonderful, bright, positive, cooperative entities coming to us and saying ‘hey, let us go beyond’, when we are no longer here, that there’s continuity.”

Berger Paints’ Senior Brand Manager, Renee Cobham, speaking on the collaboration, emphasised: “Now is the time to support the efforts of young persons and budding entrepreneurs.  Technical and vocational institutions, such as SJPI, provide that unique opportunity to learn theory and develop skills in a controlled environment….  It is on this premise that team Berger recognises that we too can contribute in a meaningful way.”

The Senior Brand Manager highlighted an environmental benefit coming out of the collaboration.  “Students will now add to their skill dossier proficiency in Aquabase Plus.  Aquabase Plus is a technology, advanced waterborne solution that is not offered any other place else within this western hemisphere. So, you know what that means, that actually means that Berger, SJPI and by extension Barbados, have made that step towards a greener solution for the automotive industry. 

“We have to preserve the environment for future generations, and it starts here, and it starts now with this (MOU).  We each need to play our part to preserve the environment for future generations, and it only made sense that the local automotive industry moves towards greener solutions,” Ms. Cobham stated.

SJPI’s Deputy Principal with responsibility for academic matters, Brenda Osbourne shared some of the clauses under the MOU, which include: training the Vehicle Body Repair Instructors in the Aquabase and Nexa 2K Auto Colour product line application to ensure up-to-date certification; supplying a fully outfitted mixing bank for the 2K product lines, along with all initial paints associated with the mixing bank, and sponsoring Berger Decorative Paints to the Division of Automotive and Welding Engineering.

Under the MOU, there are also plans to discuss and agree on an internship initiative to allow students to gain adequate work experience for an agreed period.

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