Deputy Prime Minister and National Security Minister, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Articulated Truck Driving Programme (ATD) will equip young people in vulnerable communities will skills for the job market and steer them away from gangs.
“With the skill set, training and qualification that they will earn during the programme, I am confident that these participants will be scouted for in-demand, good-paying jobs, locally and internationally, as opposed to being recruited by gangs,” he said.
Dr. Chang was speaking during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 15).
The ATD programme is being spearheaded by the Ministry in collaboration with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), HEART Trust/NSTA and the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
It is being delivered on a full-time and part-time basis, with the first cohort commencing training in January 2021, and is expected to sit the NCTVET examinations in June and November 2021, respectively.
Dr. Chang informed that upon successful completion of the six-month programme, participants will be awarded an NCTVET certificate, and for those who do not have a driver’s licence, they will receive a general driver’s licence.
The ATD is currently being offered in two locations – at the Cornwall Automotive Training Institute (CATI) in Montego Bay, and at Up-Park Camp in Kingston.
There are 30 participants being trained at the Up-Park Camp facility – eight from August Town, 14 from Greenwich Town, three from Mountain View, two from Drewsland, one from Fletchers Land, one from Seaview Gardens, and one from Portmore.
A total of 26 participants are being trained at the Montego Bay facility and they are predominantly from the Flanker community.
“The participants are all from communities that have traditionally been characterised as volatile and/or vulnerable. This Government is not relying solely on the designation of an area as a Zone of Special Operations to meet the critical human development needs of our people,” Dr. Chang said.
He noted that the ATD is “only one of a series of initiatives that are being elaborated by the Government to give hope to our youth and to provide them with the opportunity to live and earn through legitimate means”.
The National Security Minister reiterated his invitation to the private sector, civil society groups, bilateral and multilateral development partners to collaborate with the Government “in expanding these transformative, life-altering programmes across the island”.