An additional 5,000 to 10,000 youth are being targeted for engagement through job placements in the private sector, as part of the scaling up of the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in his contribution to the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on Thursday (March 19), under the theme: ‘Towards a Decade of Growth to Anchor Our Peace, Prosperity and Resilience’.
“HOPE, along with the HEART/NSTA Trust and partnering entities, has been producing a pool of trained youth with the right work ethics and attitudes who are more prepared for the world of work. In other words, HOPE has been making the unattached population more employable. Once and for all, we are addressing the huge population of unattached and vulnerable youth of Jamaica by providing them with skills and experience while we grow the economy to provide job opportunities,” he said.
The HOPE Programme is designed to engage unattached youth aged 18 to 24 years to develop skills for the demands of the workforce, including life skills as well as vocational skills, and to provide certification to improve their overall employability.
“HOPE was built out of the foundational principle of what I call LEGS. This is the idea that every Jamaican must work to LEARN through education, including good principles and skills; work to EARN their own living, thereby contributing to the overall development of the country; work to GIVE back to the country through service; and work to SAVE for their own future,” the Prime Minister explained.
He further noted that the HOPE programme works with the HEART/NSTA Trust’s suite of programmes, including the volunteerism and mentorship programmes.
Through its National Service Corps component, the HOPE programme continues to focus on key areas of national needs. These include general construction; environmental (vector control, waste management, tree planting and landscaping); agriculture; education (teacher assistance); health (administrative support and patient care); maintenance; hospitality and digitisation of records.
A total of 32,520 individuals were engaged by the HOPE/National Service Corps Programme in the 2019/2020 fiscal year through various associated programmes.