Ministry strengthens youth engagement through partnership with OPM

Friday, April 12, 2019

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THE Ministry of National Security will be partnering with the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme to provide at-risk youths with targeted opportunities for employment.

The pending partnership will be established under the banners of the ministry's flagship Youth Empowerment Initiative — 'We Transform'.

Minister of state in the ministry, Rudyard Spencer, said this strategic partnership is timely and reflects Government's commitment to transform the lives of the offenders.

“We understand that there is a need for productive activities upon release to prevent our at-risk population from reoffending. I am confident that through this collaboration these youths will be empowered to change the trajectory of their life,” said Minister Spencer.

He further noted that the opportunities stemming from the anticipated support through HOPE will have positive and rippling effects on several communities.

Meanwhile, national coordinator of the HOPE Programme, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman, said he anticipates that this partnership will assist with the expansion of the programmes and further reduce crime and violence.

The ministry advised that the programme would be geared towards helping youth who are serving custodial sentences to transition into the working world.

“We would start the process before the youth leaves the facility and guide them on a case management bases afterwards to help them to become productive members of society,” he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed in short order to cement the continued efforts by the ministry as it seeks productive and sustainable partnerships that will provide the offenders in the care of the Department of Correctional Services with an alternate life than crime and violence.

The HOPE Programme, which was launched in May 2017, provides educational and job opportunities for young people ages 18 to 24, who are not employed or enrolled in a school or programme of training. The 'We Transform' initiative was also launched the same year and facilitates the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders who were placed in juvenile remand centres island wide.

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