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More than 200 at-risk youths have completed a six month on-the-job training programme under the Citizen Security and Justice Programme II (CSJP II), in partnership with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

The participants, who are from a total of 25 CSJP communities in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) and Montego Bay, provided skilled labour to the JDF in the areas of auto mechanic, furniture making, air conditioning (A/C) and refrigeration, carpentry, plumbing, mechanical maintenance, electrical installation, welding, general construction, tiling, masonry, and steel fixing.

At an awards ceremony held at the JDF’s Technical Training Institute at Up Park Camp on December 19, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, commended the participants for their achievement and encouraged them to make the best of the opportunities that come their way.

He noted that the CSJP has been doing a tremendous job in positively impacting the lives of many at risk youths across Jamaica, by providing them with employment and educational opportunities.

"The idea is to take at risk youth, the ones who the army or the police force might be confronting in a shoot out or be pursuing for some criminal offence, and divert those at risk youth into more constructive activities,” he said.

Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, also congratulated the participants on reaching this far, but advised them that this was only the beginning.

"The road from here on will not be easy, but neither was the road before. But what you must realise is that if you push yourselves to achieve, you can do it,” he stated.

He pointed out that the JDF is always willing to partner with and support organisations that are working for the development of Jamaica and its people. 

“We (the JDF) would much prefer to engage with the nation’s youth in this sort of environment than in an environment where we are at odds with each other or in an internal security role. I think this sort of engagement makes it better for both of us, and so to that extent, it gave you an opportunity as interns to interact with the JDF. I hope that you have found that interaction interesting and uplifting and that it added something positive to your lives,” he stated.   

In the meantime, Programme Manager, CSJP, Simeon Robinson, informed that the partnership with the JDF has been a success and has helped to transform the lives of many young people.

He further noted that the CSJP was currently compiling another batch of participants for a second phase of the on-the-job training at the JDF.

The training programme, which was funded by the CSJP at a sum of $43 million, aimed to address the issue of youth unemployment and delinquency by improving the social skills and employability of unattached youths. It also aimed to improve the relationship between the youths and the security forces.

The interns were assigned to the engineering regiment of the JDF and were distributed across sites at Up Park Camp, and in Falmouth, Trelawny. Through strong guidance from the military, they provided a pool of skilled labour for the completion of selected projects across the regiment.

CSJP, a programme of the National Security Ministry, seeks to contribute to crime and violence reduction in 50 volatile and vulnerable communities through the financing and implementation of prevention and strategic interventions to address identified individual, family and community risk factors.

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