Click here to print page

Sutherland forges partnership with communities

...certifies over 200 youth

Sunday, October 01, 2017

During the recent summer period, Sutherland Community Technology Centre (CTC) facilitated certification at remote locations by partnering with several communities and stakeholders to deliver free Microsoft Digital Literacy Certification to over 200 youngsters from Whitehall Avenue, Backbush, Franklyn and Vineyard towns and at the girls' home in Stony Hill.

This certification exposes individuals to fundamentals of Computers, Productivity Programs, and Digital Lifestyle, and positions them for further training by institutions such as HEART Trust/NTA and future employment in the business process outsourcing industry.

Due to numerous requests from community leaders to assist local area youth who are unable to find bus fare to commute to existing Sutherland CTC, the company decided to take a more flexible approach by bringing training to several communities over the summer. The partnership in Backbush was prompted by an invitation from Member of Parliament Fayval Williams. Julian Robinson, Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Eastern, made a similar request for the programme to be extended to two community access points in the Vineyard Town and Franklyn Town. The principal of Swallowfield Primary School Neril Ellis invited Sutherland CTC to utilise the school so that youngsters in and around the communities of Whitehall Avenue, Red Hills Road and Rock Hall could benefit from the training.

Odetta Rockhead-Kerr, country head, Sutherland, Jamaica, said: “Exposure to technology is a big enabler for underserved youth seeking to make a positive contribution to the society. As a company in the technology industry we want to help to create innovative minds. So we are determined to do our part to drive digital inclusion in Jamaica to prepare youth to access job opportunities.”

Sutherland currently operates three CTCs that deliver free digital literacy training to youngsters 13-25 years old. The centres are located at the Mona Baptist Church, the Holy Family Infant and Primary School. and the Mandeville Baptist Church.

Sutherland's CTC managerPaula Hurlock said, “Sutherland is pleased that it is able to make a positive impact on Jamaican youth, especially those who are struggling to make themselves marketable. She further explained that about 20 per cent of those gaining the Microsoft Digital Literacy certification this summer will be selected to become an apprentice at Sutherland through HEART Trust/NTA. In preparation for the workforce, candidates selected as apprentices will undergo soft skills and professional development training.

The success of the Sutherland CTCs to date is hinged purely on positive relationships forged with community mobilisers and institutions with a vision to that of Sutherland. The final quarter of 2017 is already showing signs of vigorous activity as Sutherland has already teamed up with agencies in Clarendon, Manchester, St Elizabeth and Trelawny to deliver training to an additional 300 youngsters in those parishes by the end of the year.