Feature
Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III pre-vocational participant, Kayvia Tucker, speaks during a class.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • As 21-year-old Ryan Williams laid in hospital nursing gunshot wounds in December 2018, he decided that it was time to make a change in his life and end his involvement in criminal activities.
  • Shortly after he was released from the hospital, the Kingston resident visited the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III office, determined to move his life in a positive direction.
  • “I decided to learn more about the programme and vocational training that was starting in a couple of months, and I told myself that I wanted to do it, as I dropped out of school before 11th. grade,” he tells JIS News.

As 21-year-old Ryan Williams laid in hospital nursing gunshot wounds in December 2018, he decided that it was time to make a change in his life and end his involvement in criminal activities.

Shortly after he was released from the hospital, the Kingston resident visited the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III office, determined to move his life in a positive direction.

“I decided to learn more about the programme and vocational training that was starting in a couple of months, and I told myself that I wanted to do it, as I dropped out of school before 11th. grade,” he tells JIS News.

Mr Williams is a part of a group of 60 persons who are benefiting from a CSJP III-piloted pre-vocational training initiative, aimed at improving their numeracy and literacy skills and preparing them to apply for entry into various HEART Trust/NTA vocational programmes.

Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III pre-vocational participant, Ryan Williams.

 

“In the garrison, it’s not nice… and to have a programme like this for youths is good because, since I started it, my life has changed, as I am not at home unemployed. So, I get up each day grateful to be able to get an education,” he adds.

According to Janet Allen, Director of Encounter Ministries, which partners with CSJP III to administer the programme, she has witnessed the tremendous impact that the initiative has had and continues to have on the participants, beyond academics.

“Over the couple of months that we have been working with them, we have seen a transformation. We see a lot of improvement in how the learners interact with each other [compared to] when they just came; they are from varying communities and some of them were, possibly, from warring factions. But we are now seeing them operating as a community within themselves, as one unified team,” she explains.

Mrs. Allen notes that the monthly honour-roll system implemented has proven to be a source of competition and motivation among the students.

“The level of competitiveness to get on the honour roll has been amazing. The students have to get an average of at least 80 per cent combining Mathematics and English Language. For the first sitting, we had 20 persons who made it and those who were not on it are determined to be a part of it. So I am excited to see what the grades will be,” she says.

Twenty-seven-year-old Kayvia Tucker is one of the proud honour-roll students.

“I didn’t finish high school, as I didn’t have anyone to send me to school; I have never experienced graduation or getting high marks. So now that I can go to school regularly and made it to the honour roll, it has made me feel very special,” Miss Tucker tells JIS News.

Steffon Osbourne says his time in the nine-month programme has improved his esteem and sense of self-worth.

Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III pre-vocational participant, Steffon Osbourne.

 

“The programme turns boys into men, as we no longer want to rob anyone. It gave me a chance so I can work for what I want and it teaches me to work on my people skills,” he adds.

Mr. Osbourne is now focused on attaining certification in welding, and making the CSJP III stakeholders proud.

“They have paved the way for me. So these days, I am focused on being a man of my word and achieving what I said I would,” he says.

The pre-vocational training programme, which began in April this year, will culminate with the participants sitting the HEART/NTA Trust vocational skills entrance examinations in October.