Labour ministry mulls expansion of Abilities Foundation programme

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Labour ministry mulls expansion of Abilities Foundation programme

Saturday, November 21, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Consideration is being given to expanding the Abilities Foundation programme into other parishes to provide access to training opportunities for individuals with disabilities in rural areas.

“We are looking to see how we can bring what is done here to other parishes or sections of the country,” State Minister for Labour and Social Security, Zavia Mayne, said during a tour of the foundation’s Constant Spring Road location in St Andrew on Thursday.

“Currently, we are examining the legal framework, and once we have found a way, that is something we want to advance with great haste,” he said.

He noted that “right across the country there are persons with disabilities who are desperate for this kind of training opportunity, but because of distance they are not able to travel all the way to Kingston to get this kind of training”.

The Abilities Foundation has suspended face-to-face instruction and moved its programmes online due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Managing Director of the Foundation, Susan Hamilton, said that although the school is gradually making the transition to full online learning, some of the courses require face-to-face assessments.

She said that the establishment of another branch will better facilitate this process.

Hamilton also pointed to plans to revise the course curriculum to reflect current labour market trends.

“If we were to expand, we would have to look at skill areas and market trends first, because we would not want to waste resources. We would want to make sure if we go to another area, it would be money well spent,” she said.

The Abilities Foundation is a division of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security that provides vocational and skills training to persons aged 17 and over with hearing and visual impairments as well as physical and intellectual disabilities.

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