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  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has hailed the work of Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) in preparing the country’s youth for the global job market.
  • He said the programme continues to implement age-appropriate, practical programmes to strengthen the capacity of young people to become globally competitive citizens.
  • He said the lesson learnt are crucial in producing a workforce, which is proficient in technical and vocational competencies.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, has hailed the work of Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) in preparing the country’s youth for the global job market.

He said the programme continues to implement age-appropriate, practical programmes to strengthen the capacity of young people to become globally competitive citizens.

He said the lesson learnt are crucial in producing a workforce, which is proficient in technical and vocational competencies.

“The world is changing and Junior Achievement is moving us into the direction of the new age, where practical competencies are of great importance and of equal merit to those other subjects that we thought comprised education,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites was speaking at Junior Achievement Jamaica’s third annual Champions for Youth Awards banquet held on May 27, at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston.

He said the initiative, which is particularly attractive to boys, can assist in engaging more male students in the learning process.

“We are anxious to see how this programme can move beyond the primary schools and into the high schools and, indeed, into the tertiary institutions as well,” he said, while urging all public schools to implement the programme.

Rev. Thwaties commended the conceptualisers of the programme for their foresight and vision in “making practical, the educational opportunities open to many of our young people, and to provide them with the prospects of those skills, which are going to help them to get jobs and create their own jobs and to do better.”

He also congratulated the sponsors and the teachers for their support in allowing the movement to grow over the years. “We need partnerships in education, in every aspect of it, if we are going to succeed quickly,” the Education Minister said.

Board Chair, Junior Achievement Jamaica, Paul Lalor, said the initiative allows youth to “take advantage of a programme that is second to none in teaching our youngsters to be financially literate, among other things.”

He also hailed the teachers and the corporate sponsors “who have gone the extra mile to make sure that this programme continues.”

The mission of Junior Achievement Jamaica is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. It is focussed on three main pillars: workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Junior Achievement Jamaica partners with public and private entities to deliver offerings to youth, aged five to 24 years, across the island.

More than 40,000 students have been reached since 2009 through in-class and after-school programmes, special conferences and competitions.

During the awards ceremony, 14 teachers and 24 companies/organisations were recognised for their contributions to the movement.

The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) was among the entities honoured.