Some 200 young persons in St. James are currently undergoing training for certification in Information Communication Technology (ICT) and will be later employed at Montego Bay-based call centre, Global Gateway Solutions.
The project is funded by the European Union (EU), under the Banana Support Programme, and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), with support from the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), the HEART/NTA, and other inputs from community organizations.
Addressing the launch on Friday, June 22, at the Maldon Baptist Church, in the parish, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, who is also Member of Parliament for South St. James, said the certification and job opportunity is timely.
“The training of Jamaican workers in a variety of skills for the labour market must be commended. While we acknowledge the cost to making these training programmes a possibility, we consider that it is worth the investment in human capital,” he said.
The project is geared towards persons 20 to 30 years of age, primarily young women, and is aimed at closing the gap between required skills and capabilities for ICT among the workforce.
“When youth can receive education and training through a project like this on e and transit readily into the world of work, thereby strengthening their financial capacity, and enabling them to contribute to the welfare of families and dependents, it is a win-win situation,” Minister Kellier said.
He added that the project presents possibilities to develop new income earning activities in traditional banana-growing communities such as Maldon, being affected by the fall-off in exports to the EU due to changes in preferential arrangements.
“Given the increasing importance of information technology, this ICT training project represents a catalyst for change, and opens a world of hope and possibilities for the recipients,” the Minister told the gathering.
Forty of the recipients have already received training, and a facility built and equipped in Maroon Town, with another centre ready for operation in Cambridge. The trainees are drawn from communities such as Anchovy, Cambridge, Maroon Town, and surrounding communities. The Tangle River Community Development Committee is providing support to the project.
Head of Operations at the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Mr. Orus Baguena, said the partnership consisting of international financing, Government funding, business interest support, and community participation is fitting for the selected communities.
Meanwhile, President of the PSOJ, Joseph M. Matalon, said he expected the young persons involved in the project to optimize their potential, earn a living, and become productive citizens.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter