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68 Spanish Town residents get skills training

Friday, December 20, 2013    

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SIXTY-EIGHT young people from inner-city communities in Spanish Town are now better prepared to enter the workforce, following their participation in the 12-month Alternative Livelihoods and Skills Development Vocational Skills training programme.

A joint programme of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and Portmore HEART Academy, it targeted male and female youth aged 17-35 years in the communities of Central Village, Shelter Rock, Tawes Pen, Lauriston and March Pen.

It was financed by the Government of Jamaica, the World Bank and the Japan Social Development Fund Grant under JSIF's Inner-City Basic Service Project (ICBSP).

Addressing the closing ceremony earlier this month, Mona Sue-Ho, social development manager at JSIF, said the participants were certified in food preparation, general construction, plumbing and electrical installation and that they had benefited from training in information technology, entrepreneurial skills, life skills and remedial education.

"They are now better equipped to work, to earn, to be entrepreneurs and to be self-sufficient. They can be self-reliant, contribute to their family's well-being, and will in general make a positive contribution in their communities and in Jamaica," Sue-Ho said.

She congratulated the group, describing them as competent young men and women with a very bright future, and urged them to use the knowledge they gained to improve their lives and to contribute to the growth and development of their communities and to Jamaica.

Pointing to apprenticeship placements at various companies, Sue-Ho also said that the skills training programme "provided a foundation for employment opportunities both as employees and entrepreneurs" and that some participants had been provided with "starter kits" to help them advance their ambitions for self-employment.

She commended the 68 participants who had decided to continue and now completed their studies towards Level II certification by HEART/NTA.

"What this says to us is that the mission of the Alternative Livelihoods and Skills Development programme has been realised. We had set out to equip and empower the participants through education, skills and employment -- mission accomplished!" she declared.

"This project has given me renewed hope for the future as I started hoping to gain only a Level 1 certificate, but with perseverance I am now leaving also with a Level II certificate," said student Firsest Whitfield.

Sue-Ho said the implementation of the project was "a true partnership between various entities, including JSIF, HEART/NTA, Portmore Academy and the Spanish Town Seventh-day Adventist institution which hosted the food preparation students. Also, notable assistance came from the companies which facilitated the work/study activities of the participants, including Spanish Town Hospital, Cecil's Restaurant and Jamandas Restaurant in Spanish Town; Paradise Catering, Décor Ltd and the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites in Kingston; Wedderbees Co Ltd in Portmore and Kingston; and the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay.

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