HOPE needs more private sector partnerships

Thursday, April 19, 2018

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NATIONAL coordinator of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE) Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman, says the programme is seeking to increase partnerships with private sector organisations in an effort to expand its reach.

“We invite interested organisations to make contact with the HOPE office, located at the Office of the Prime Minister, and indicate to us what their needs are in terms of skill sets, and we will discuss how best we can work out an arrangement wherein all parties will reap maximum benefits,” Lt Col Rickman said.

He was speaking at a JIS Think Tank held at the agency's Half-Way-Tree Road offices yesterday.

Launched in 2017, the programme currently engages over 2,500 unattached youth across the island in apprenticeship and training in a number of agencies and organisations for a period of one year.

Lt Col Rickman pointed out that there is a desire to reach a larger number of unattached youth in the short-term, thus minimising any likelihood of their involvement in illicit activities.

“In order to achieve this, we need the assistance of entities that are willing to participate by offering apprenticeship opportunities to our participants,” he stated.

The national coordinator noted that engagements through the initiative are mutually beneficial for both the host agency and the worker.

He explained that projects that would have been earmarked for completion by the entity can sometimes be executed at a fraction of the allocated budget by recruiting the services of interns.

“Participants in the programme have so far been engaged in the areas of: customer service, digitisation, maintenance, vector control, garment manufacturing, and the National Service Corps, among others,” Lt Col Rickman said.

He also stated that, in many cases, the hosts are particularly impressed with the performance and dedication of the recruits they have received through the programme.

The first batch of participants are expected to be certified and participate in a graduation exercise by mid-year.

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