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Minister of State in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore, has said that investments in youth and social development would bring great dividends to the country and provide important socio-economic stability.
Delivering the keynote address Friday (August 27) at the closing ceremony of the Ministry’s Steps to Work summer camp at the Kendal Conference Centre, Manchester, he noted that the programme, geared to giving youths who have given up on the educational process a second chance, has given him hope that persons who need to make a change can do so, and that resources spent on such projects were well placed.
“There is nothing that we can invest in, as a country, and get the kind of returns as when we invest in human capital. They can make a change to someone who has intent of a career and is going somewhere,” the Minister said.
He added that young people hold a great promise for the future and anything that is spent on educating them and showing them that life will be what they make of it, would be well spent.
“Take charge of your future, and I believe that if we are able to track some of you in years to come, you are going to be citizens who are making meaningful contributions to our country,” he stated.
Manager of the South West Region of the HEART Trust/NTA, Charmaine Dixon, remarked that the camps were of such interest to participants that, at one location – May Day High School – a group of campers walked from their district, Lancaster, to the camp.
“They were committed to making a change in their lives. They have now gotten a second chance, and it is not just a three-week camp, the process continues,” she advised.
Participants are chosen from Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH) households, and have either left school, dropped out or are about to drop out of school due to low school attendance patterns, and have no certification. At the summer camps they receive assistance in skills development, remediation, entrepreneurial training, job readiness and other developmental interventions, aimed at making them active economic contributors to the society.
The Steps-to-Work programme is run by the Ministry under PATH, with support from the HEART Trust/NTA, the National Youth Service (NYS), and the Jamaica Business Development Centre (JBDC).