71 complete vocational and life skills training
A total of 71 residents from several communities in St Catherine have successfully completed vocational and life skills training under the alternative livelihoods and skills development project.
Following 12 months of training at the Portmore HEART Academy, the participants from Central Village, Shelter Rock, Tawes Pen, Lauriston and March Pen, have received level 1 HEART Trust/NTA certification in various programmes including food preparation, building construction, plumbing and electrical installation. They also received training in information technology, entrepreneurial skills and remedial education.
The participants were presented with their certificates at a closing ceremony on December 6 at the Garmex HEART Academy in Kingston.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) partnered with the Portmore Heart Academy to implement the project at a cost of $12.4 million through funding from the Japan Social Development Fund Grant and the Government/World Bank inner city basic services project.
JSIF Social Development Manager Mona Sue-Ho, in congratulating the students on their achievements, said they are now better equipped to work, earn, and to be self-sufficient.
"This project has provided a foundation for employment opportunities, both as employees and as entrepreneurs. Some students have benefited from temporary apprenticeship placement, which has no doubt increased experience in their skill level of study. As an additional bonus, some participants will also be equipped with a starter kit today, which will further advance their ambitions for self-employment," she stated.
Sue-Ho said she is also pleased that 68 participants have decided to continue with level II certification in their various fields.
Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Firsest Whitfield expressed gratitude for the skills she and her colleagues now possess, "which will and can enable us to earn and improve the quality of our lives in personal and professional capacities that were never before possible".
"This was not just a matter of training for a skill, it was education for life. We have learnt about life skills, conflict management skills, problem-solving skills, perseverance through adversities, resilience. We all learnt to appreciate the privilege we have been offered... and the resources that have been invested in us," she said.
A total of 80 persons, ages 17 to 35, benefited under the project, with 71 successfully completing the training and achieving certification.