The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology’s digitisation programme has been strengthened with the addition of 40 young people, who will assist in the digital transformation exercise.
Recruited through the Government’s Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, the youngsters will be engaged for 12 months, where they will carry out work in the areas of records management; customer service; field work, providing assistance to compliance and technical officers; predigitisation activities such as reclassification of files, decluttering and disposition of records; and digitisation.
A sum of $18.5 million has been provided to support a stipend for the participants over the life of the internship.
Speaking at the official welcome ceremony at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday (July 1), Portfolio Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams. said the digitisation programme is in keeping with the modernisation of the public sector and is directly aligned to efforts to transition Jamaica from a paper-based to a digital society.
“We must transform the business of government to allow for easier access to records. I believe that every document in government must be accessible with just a click or by inserting a search term. It is time for government to go digital, and the HOPE programme is a crucial part of this digital transformation,” she noted.
Ms. Williams said that digitisation of records improves efficiency and responsiveness of governmen, thereby reducing time spent in line or accessing a service.
“Digitisation of the public service brings citizens closer to government and its services, making our citizens a part of the process. This is also part of the vision of a new Jamaica, where we transform the way government does business and where Jamaicans will have access to public services from anywhere and anytime,” she noted.
The Minister encouraged the youngsters to learn as much as they can, noting that their work will be critical in advancing Jamaica’s growth and development.
“When you begin your work, see yourself as part of the bigger vision, which is moving government to becoming a digital government,” she said.
National Coordinator, HOPE Programme, Colonel Martin Rickman, in his remarks urged the youngsters to strive for excellence, noting that this opportunity is “a golden ticket to your bright future”.
HOPE programme participant, Danielle Harris, said she plans to learn as much as possible while carrying out her assigned tasks.
“I consider myself very lucky [to be a part of this programme]. I have learnt a lot about being more mature, managing time, things that you wouldn’t learn just being in school… so I am very grateful for this,” she said.
Rujuan Dawes expressed gratitude for the opportunity and pledged to do his best “to help build a new Jamaica”.
The HOPE Programme is a training and apprenticeship initiative that provides an avenue for the development of unattached youth, 18 to 24 years old.
Participants are required to take part in mandatory core training, inclusive of life skills, good citizenship, work ethics, discipline, volunteerism and entrepreneurship.
Following that, they are engaged in specific skills training and serve as apprentices, where they will be allowed to work in the particular skill area for a stipend with a savings component.