Thirty at-risk young persons from several communities in the Corporate Area will benefit from training opportunities provided under the Kingston leg of the Truck Driver Simulator Training Programme.
The cohort consists of three females and 27 males, and the programme is being undertaken at a cost of approximately $25.3 million through a partnership involving the Ministry of National Security, Caribbean Military Academy (CMA), the HEART/NSTA Trust, and the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU).
The participants will commence training on May 24 on a full- and part-time basis. The objective of the six-month engagement is to prepare the participants to apply technical skills and knowledge to drive articulated and combination units, including trailers, trucks, buses, delivery and commercial vehicles.
The course also aims to equip them with the requisite employability skills to compete in the global workforce. Training will comprise 40 per cent simulation and 60 per cent practical engagement by traditional driving means.
A similar programme was launched in January, in St. James.
Speaking at the official launch at the CMA, Up Park Camp, on May 20, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said the programme is vital for safeguarding lives, transforming communities and reducing the number of young men turning to gangs.
He said the engagement of the participants will also facilitate behavioural change, while generating socio-economic opportunities.
Dr. Chang pointed out that the collaboration among the agencies is crucial and reflects the commitment of the Government to ensure the social intervention programme is executed in an effective manner.
“This is a significant and historic event in our approach to seeking to deal with some of the challenges we face in dealing with unattached youth, which is a major security problem for the country,” he said.
Acting Deputy Managing Director HEART/NSTA Trust, Kenesha Campbell, said the programme forms part of training opportunities provided by the agency, in ensuring Jamaicans are trained and are able to meet international standards and the growing demands of the dynamic and evolving workforce.
“This partnership will continue to provide the opportunity for us to develop the talents within our people that will see them excel and demonstrate the Jamaican spirit and resilience that is world-renowned,” she said.
Ms. Campbell commended the partners and congratulated the trainees for taking the bold step of getting trained and certified in the articulated mobile simulation driving course.
“I encourage you to enjoy your journey. Maximise your use of the learning opportunities that will be available to you along the way and persevere despite the challenges that may come until you receive your certification that is internationally recognised and that will ensure that you get employment in Jamaica as well as internationally,” she said.
For his part, President, CMA, Brigadier Radgh Mason, said the youth training programme is a sustainable way of tackling Jamaica’s social ills.
At the end of the programme, participants will receive certification from the CMU and the NVQJ Level 3 qualification in commercial driving operations.