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Some 1,700 young people, who had dropped out of school, have benefited from interventions under the Steps-to-Work summer camps, to enable them to return to classes when school reopens next month.

"This year, approximately 1,700 students were enrolled in the camps, and the Ministry and its partners have worked hard to ensure they are able to return to school in September,” said Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier.

He was addressing the closing ceremony for the South St. James camp held recently at the Cambridge High School in the parish.

The Minister commended the 100 students, who participated in the four-week camp, which was held at the school during July/August.

It was one of 17 organised and carried out across the island by the Ministry under the theme: 'School mi seh; education builds a nation’.  Participants were exposed to sports, culture, literacy, numeracy, and employment and self-development skills.

"This summer camp programme demonstrates the Government’s unswerving commitment to breaking the inter-generational cycle of poverty and produce citizens, who are knowledgeable, skilled and prepared to take advantage of opportunities to advance themselves," Minister Kellier stated.  

"The campers can proudly attest to acquiring skills in food preparation, building construction, carpentry, welding cosmetology, electrical installation and other areas.  Campers have also shown considerable improvement in personal deportment, grooming and self-development,” he added.

He urged the campers to develop on the skills they have been exposed to, use their deficiencies to drive their ambition and efforts and to capitalize on every training and educational opportunity to improve their lives.

The camps are part of the Steps- to-Work  programme, which targets beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), providing them with training, entrepreneurial and job readiness skills to become self reliant, so that they will no longer need state assistance.

Minister Kellier informed that the Government will be providing some $400 million to support the implementation of Steps-to-Work, which will be expended through agencies such as HEART Trust/NTA, National Youth Service (NYS), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) and Jamaica Foundation for Life Long Learning (JFLL).