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  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is seeking to expand the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) to reach more of the nation’s unattached youth.
  • “We recognise that we need to place far more resources into programmes like these (JNSC). As soon as we return to normal, we will have to increase the intake and eventually, the policy position would be to have the programme universal for those who do not have other prospects of attachment,” he said.
  • The Prime Minister was addressing the Certification Ceremony for the ninth intake of JNSC recruits at Up Park Camp in Kingston on Friday (June 4).

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is seeking to expand the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) to reach more of the nation’s unattached youth.

“We recognise that we need to place far more resources into programmes like these (JNSC). As soon as we return to normal, we will have to increase the intake and eventually, the policy position would be to have the programme universal for those who do not have other prospects of attachment,” he said.

The Prime Minister was addressing the Certification Ceremony for the ninth intake of JNSC recruits at Up Park Camp in Kingston on Friday (June 4).

He noted that the JNSC is the “flagship programme for the Government’s intervention and response in breaking the cycle of unattachment of our youth and of giving hope to our young people.”

The JNSC, which was conceptualised by Mr. Holness in 2016, targets young people ages 18 to 23, creating an avenue for them to be fully empowered through national service.

Following the passage of the Defence (Amendment) Act in the House of Representatives in 2017, the JNSC became the standard mode of enlistment for persons joining the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to serve as full-time soldiers.

The Prime Minister noted that while over 4,000 youngsters have been engaged in the programme since its inception, there are “thousands who we have not been able to touch.”

He said that the JNSC provides a solution to the problem of the country’s approximately 130,000 unattached youth, including their vulnerability to gang recruitment.

“We must not leave any Jamaican youth vulnerable to be recruited into a gang or their life chances disrupted or denied because they did not have the institutional support at that critical point in their life cycle. That is the commitment we have,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister implored the JNSC graduates not to squander the opportunity they have been afforded through the programme.
“You should make the most of it because we have invested significant resources in this,” he said.

A total of 260 recruits successfully completed the year-long training programme. However, due to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, only 24 graduates were allowed to attend the ceremony.

The graduates underwent 16 weeks of intense, basic training focused on military service knowledge, basic first aid, weapons handling, among other areas. For another eight months, they were engaged in military, vocational and broader life skills training, which will equip them for either an extended career in the JDF or engagement in other professional areas of interest.

The JNSC was rolled out in 2017 as part of the Government’s Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE), which provides educational and job opportunities for young people. It is targeted at persons, who are not employed or enrolled in a school or programme of training.

The JNSC is structured to provide continual development over the one year service period. The objective is to develop a range of life skills and build sound character, in order to make persons more versatile and better equipped for success in their chosen career path.

Persons completing the programme will earn a JNSC Completion Certificate and a JNSC Record of Service, which will provide pertinent information in relation to their service, inclusive of any special accomplishments or contribution to the JDF.

 

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