The Youth Summer Employment Programme (YSEP) offered by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will positively impact the lives of 6,000 youth across the island.
This statement comes from portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who was speaking at the launch of the programme recently, at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) in Portland.
“This year I am sure that the level of participation within the various communities across the country will gain the results that we are anticipating. This is a golden opportunity to allow you young people to begin to have the experience of what it is to become responsible young people. The YSEP allows you to work, to generate new skills and to earn a livelihood. I want you to ensure that you make the programme sustainable. I am sure that you will not let us down,” Minister McKenzie said.
The YSEP participants will earn $10,000.00 weekly for the four-week period of the programme, with team leaders earning $11,000.00 per week. This, the Minster said, he knows will go towards school fees, books and supporting families.
“Since we started the programme in 2017, over 500 persons who have participated… have been retained in the various municipal corporations across the island. Over 150 YSEP workers were certified by HEART Trust/NSTA that they are employment-ready,” the Minister continued.
Fifth-time returning YSEP participant, La-Marr Harry, said the programme has increased his confidence and made him a better person.
“Although I lived in Portland for my entire life, I really got to know life at the community level because of YSEP. It allowed me to meet people and to understand persons. And because of YSEP I have been inspired to help people not only physically, [but] mentally and emotionally and that is why I plan to do further studies in psychology. I can honestly say that I have grown as a person because of YSEP,” La-Marr said)
He went on to thank the Minister for the initiative and the Mayor of Port Antonio for recognising the potential in him and making the recommendation to the programme.
Mayor of Port Antonio, Paul Thompson, expressed his pleasure in seeing the commitment of youth to national service and stated that the programme is “an opportunity for our young people to become productive, engaged and make a meaningful contribution to the development of their communities”.
He also expressed the appreciation of the Portland Municipal Corporation for the programme.
“The Portland Municipal Corporation, like all other local authorities, is not only highly appreciative and welcoming of the programme but… is also inextricably bound to it by virtue of the assistance it provides in enabling service delivery. The Portland Municipal Corporation looks forward with great expectation to the operation of the programme in the parish and it is fully committed to provide the necessary support and cooperation to ensure the success of this programme,” Mayor Thompson said.
YSEP is an initiative of Minister McKenzie and since its inception, approximately 21,000 youth have benefited from summer work within the municipal corporations.