The HEART/NSTA Trust has partnered with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) to provide job opportunities for participants in the Learning and Investment for Transformation (LIFT) programme.
Commencing December 1, participants will work in pre-approved ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) or participating private-sector firms for one year, where they will receive a monthly stipend of $85,000.
Managing Director of the HEART/NSTA Trust, Dr Taneisha Ingleton, told JIS News that the PSOJ has submitted 98 job placement requests on behalf of 16 entities.
“We had committed to them, 100 placements, so to date, that would just be two left,” she shared.
Among the categories of businesses requests are law, manufacturing, credit collection, real estate and accounting.
As it regards providing more placement spots to the PSOJ, the Managing Director said that this will have to be done in consultation with the Office of the Prime Minister.
“We will weigh that as best as possible... to ensure that the mandate is being met and that it is equitable across the PSOJ as well as the ministries, departments and agencies,” Dr Ingleton said.
The managing director told JIS News that “every effort” will be made to ensure that participants are placed in jobs in close proximity to their homes.
“Placement will largely depend on the following criteria – job availability in the participants’ local area, results of psychometric testing to match the participants with suitable jobs, and of course, the participants’ career aspirations,” Dr Ingleton said.
She told JIS News that the HEART/NSTA Trust has been contacting entities in deep-rural areas, where there are not many MDAs and perhaps not many established business firms.
“We are reaching out to the Regional Health Authorities because they have a footprint right across the country, so they could accommodate individuals who are in the remote, rural areas. We are also reaching out to the Chamber of Commerce because they would be able to give us some insight in terms of those deep-rural areas that would have some established firms.
“The Ministry of Education [and Youth] through their schools and colleges, would have also made their requests, and they have a footprint right across the island, and so we believe that we will be comfortably able to place the students right across the island,” Dr Ingleton said.
The managing director told JIS News that after the one-year period of engagement, it is expected that the participants will extend their employment with the various entities.
“We are preparing the participants in such a way that these entities will want to keep them. That is why we are taking them through the eight-week training around employability skills such as punctuality, proper communication, leadership, self-management, discipline, teamwork, respect and proper deportment,” she said, noting that soft skills are key to job retention.
LIFT is a $2-billion Government of Jamaica programme aimed at bolstering the social mobility of 500 youth annually over a five-year period.