165 youth graduate from JSIF's blue economy training programmeMonday, August 24, 2020
A total of 165 unattached youth recently graduated from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund's (JSIF) Alternative Livelihoods Skills and Development Project's blue economy training programme.
The project was undertaken in partnership with RE School of Education and Technology (RESET) with funding of $34 million jointly provided by the Government and World Bank.
The blue economy, which involves economic activities occurring in and around the sea, accounts for an estimated 90 per cent of Jamaica's gross domestic product.
In this regard, the programme provided training in boat and equipment handling and repairs, lifeguarding, scuba diving, and underwater filming.
The initiative is part of JSIF's Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP), which aims to promote public safety and transformation through the delivery of basic infrastructure and social services in 18 communities islandwide.
Graduate Omego Gardener noted that the experience was a “great one”.
The Anchovy, St James resident, who underwent training in underwater filming, lauded JSIF for conceptualising the programme.
“I must commend JSIF for giving us this opportunity to gain training and certification. We will use this wisely wherever life's journey takes us. Because of JSIF, we have been provided the opportunity to uplift [ourselves] and our family circumstances, and to make greater contributions to the development of our communities,” Gardener said.
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, in lauding the graduates, encouraged them to remain focused, despite the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the tourism industry, one of the biggest components of the blue economy.
“I suspect that, given the limitations of land-based vacation activities that must adhere to restrictive COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the open sea offers a greater appeal for persons to explore aquatic recreational activities,” Bartlett said. His address was read by Tourism Enhancement Fund Executive Director Dr Carey Wallace.
Bartlett said he harboured no doubts “that RESET would have put you through a rigorous training programme; and being counted among the graduates today means you applied yourselves well and are duly accredited for your efforts”.
For his part, JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney encouraged the graduates to utilise their certification as a starting point to further improve their qualifications.
“If this is your first certification, it should only be that… [and] not be your only certification. You should always look back at this day and say this is the day that [you] started to matriculate or take the steps towards becoming whatever… you set your mind to,” he said.
Sweeney also told graduates that JSIF was pleased to support them and looked forward to seeing other programmes of a similar nature emerging, adding that, “I am waiting to see how many of you will eventually become trainers in this very programme.”
Custos for St James, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, in his remarks, lauded the graduates for staying the course with the programme despite challenges they may have faced.
He encouraged them to “spread the word about the blue economy, [as] I am confident that all of you will make a very worthwhile contribution to your families, community, and [the] nation”.
Bishop Pitkin also impressed upon the graduates the need to abide by ethical principles in whatever they do, and lead exemplary and positively impactful lives.