- Through the internship programme, participants gained experience in skill areas such as: auto mechanic, furniture making, air condition and refrigeration repairs.
- The programme was in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and was carried out by the Engineering Regiment at Up Park Camp.
- The programme aligns training with findings from labour market surveys and also to areas of national focus.
Some 350 more inner-city young men and women are better equipped to obtain employment, having graduated from Phase 2 of the Citizen Security and Justice Internship Programme, on December 13.
The programme was in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and was carried out by the Engineering Regiment at Up Park Camp. It was aimed at improving the employability and social skills of participants, as well as the relationship between young men and the Security Forces.
Through the internship programme, participants gained experience in skill areas such as: auto mechanic, furniture making, air condition and refrigeration repairs, carpentry, plumbing, mechanical maintenance, electrical installation, welding, general construction, tiling, and masonry.
Senior Community Officer for the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), D.T. Adams, says the partnership was not only a deliberate response to the economic challenges, but also a response to inadequate availability of practical experience for young people.
“Too often, skilled and certified young people who have attained levels 1, 2 and 3 training from HEART Trust/NTA, are still unable to gain meaningful employment,” Ms. Adams says.
Coordinator for the CSJP/JDF Internship Programme, Major Marlon Stevenson, tells JIS News that the partnership was quite timely, as the JDF needed manpower for its massive housing development project underway at Up Park Camp.
“We needed persons who could fill that gap; persons who could provide us with not only labour, but also artisan skills – masons, plumbers, and welders alike. However, there were persons who did not fall in the category of the artisan skills needed for construction, as we had mechanics and cooks; but we made the partnership work nonetheless, as the aim was to expand their knowledge and skills by creating opportunities for them,” Major Stevenson explains.
Social Marketing Coordinator for CSJP, Patrice Tomlinson, in highlighting the impact of the programme, says it does not wantonly train persons, but aligns training with findings from labour market surveys and also to areas of national focus.
“A recent assessment indicates that 61 per cent of the participants from the CSJP-JDF internship programme said they are more ready to take care of their economic wellbeing. Their economic prospects have increased as a result of the programme,” she says.
Ms. Tomlinson notes that employers of CSJP participants are exceptionally pleased with their performance.
“They have reported that their work ethic far outweighs that of their counterparts from more privileged environments. They describe our young people as highly trainable and reliable,” she says.
This, Ms. Tomlinson adds, can be attributed to the level of discipline that the participants were exposed to at the JDF.
A CSJP beneficiary from August Town, Mark Knott, was awarded the ‘Most Disciplined’ and ‘Most Improved man in trade’ titles.
He describes the programme as helpful, especially for persons who desire further training in their skill area.
“My awards proved to me that the programme is worthwhile and that others can do it too. It simply required us to adapt to the new environment,” Mr. Knott says.
Meanwhile, Major Stevenson says this aspect of the programme helps to improve the relationship between the security forces, more so soldiers, as the youngsters develop an appreciation for the roles and functions of the soldiers.
“We had a disciplinary committee, which was responsible for the administration of discipline throughout the course of the programme. In addition to that, there were about 20 participants who were identified and selected for leadership positions. They were trained and placed in areas of the group where they could utilize the training. We had some good results from that component of the programme and that will be carried into the next phase,” the Major tells JIS News.
The CSJP, which is spearheaded by the Ministry of National Security, has been providing vocational skills training to young persons from participating communities.
The training programmes seek to improve the participants’ employability by training them to HEART/NTA certified standards in select vocational areas, as well as improving their social skills through Life Skills Education.