A total of 225 young people from some 22 communities across Kingston and St. Andrew and St. James will benefit from an intense vocational and skills training programme, organised by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
This was revealed by Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 17, under the theme: ‘On a Mission to Make Jamaica Safe and Secure’.
Mr. Bunting informed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between his Ministry and the JDF, which will see trainees being supervised by members of the Engineering Regiment of the JDF at four main sites, three in Kingston and one in Falmouth.
He noted that all participants are HEART/NTA certified and will be trained in nine skill areas, in addition to participating in educational field trips and life skill sessions.
“An Oversight Committee, comprised of the JDF, the Ministry and a representative from the trainees, will provide supervision of the partnership,” he said. He further noted that trainees who are interested in joining the army will be facilitated during the programme.
Mr. Bunting also informed that under the programme, participants are expected to gain training in technical and social skills, in an effort to enhance their employability. “It is expected that their perception of the security forces would have been positively impacted,” he added.
During the project, trainees will be provided with safety gear, lunch and a stipend of $5,000 per week. The programme will run for six months for each batch, he said.
On completion of the training, participants will be presented with a certificate of completion by the JDF. “We anticipate that this will help their employment prospects,” the Security Minister said.
He explained that the project is being implemented in an effort to address the problem of unemployment among young people, which, he said, is often linked to crime and violence.
“(We) recognise that classroom training needs to be complemented by practical experience, and so, a critical component of the vocational skills training programme is ‘on-the-job’ training,” he informed.
The Minister said that in recognising the need to improve the relationship between the security forces and young men from the communities, the CSJP grasped the opportunity to partner with the JDF. “This partnership is so far, the most robust in terms of the scope, number of trainees, cost and potential impact,” he said.
The CSJP, since inception, has been providing vocational skills training to young persons from participating communities. The training programmes seek to improve the participants’ employability by training them to HEART/NTA certified standards in select vocational areas, as well as improving their social skills through Life Skills Education.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter