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  • RATED was designed by Development Options Limited to fulfil the mandate of a component of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s US$3 million Social and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities project.
  • It fits right within our own (initiative, where) nearly 300 students with special needs who ordinarily would not have been able to take the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), took it this year

Forty persons with disabilities have improved their prospects for employment with the acquisition of new skill sets under the Recognising Abilities Through Training Employment and Development (RATED) programme.

The individuals, who are now certified in housekeeping, commercial food preparation, customer service and data operation, were issued with their certificates during a closing ceremony held at the Genesis Academy in Kingston on April 23.

RATED was designed by Development Options Limited to fulfil the mandate of a component of  the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s  US$3 million Social and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities project.

Through skills training and other interventions, the project seeks to improve employability outcomes for persons with disabilities who are beneficiaries of the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, who was in attendance, praised all 40 participants for sticking to the task and completing the training.

“I know what an effort it must have been for you to come out and to seize this opportunity to receive skills training that you can use to add value to your lives,” Rev. Thwaites said.

He further lauded the programme for the focus on training in practical areas that can greatly assist participants to empower their lives.

“The skills that you have acquired are probably more valuable, certainly as valuable as plenty of the other things that people learn in school which are not as practical and will not help you to get through life quite the same way as you are now equipped to do,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry of Education supports the work being done by Development Options Limited to empower persons with special abilities through this kind of programme.

“It fits right within our own (initiative, where) nearly 300 students with special needs who ordinarily would not have been able to take the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), took it this year,” he said.

The Minister said the Government is pleased that it was able to assist children who needed special attention and equipment to sit the exam, noting that one student took the exam while at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

In the meantime, Director, Social Security, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Denzil Thorpe, said the intervention forms part of the thrust of the Government of Jamaica through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to ensure the attainment of the goals outlined in Jamaica’s National Development Plan: Vision 2030.

“This vision ultimately charts the course for this nation to become an inclusive society for all our citizens and ultimately making us the place of choice to work, raise families and do business,” he said.

Providing an overview of the programme, Chief Executive Officer of Development Options Limited and RATED Programme Manager, Maureen Webber, said awareness of the limited opportunities to prepare young adults with disabilities for the workplace, and to access work opportunities gave birth to RATED.

She noted that overall, Development Options Limited’s work within Jamaica and across the Caribbean, focuses on designing, managing and resourcing opportunities for social and economic inclusion for micro and small entrepreneurs, youth, vulnerable communities and for the community of persons with disabilities.

“We designed RATED as our flagship project some 18 months ago. It is meant to prepare our clients for work. It is a multi-level, multi-layered programme,” she said.

RATED was implemented in partnership with the HEART Trust/NTA, National Youth Service, Genesis Academy, the Japanese Government and Institute for Workforce Education and Development (IWED).