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JIS News

The government’s information technology (IT) programme for disabled persons was resumed last November after a one-year break, with three persons awarded scholarships tenable at the Caribbean Institute of Technology (CIT).
The programme, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Commerce, Science and Technology in collaboration with the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities, the Combined Disabilities Association and the National Youth Service (NYS), was first started in 2000 with the aim of providing IT training and employment for persons with disabilities.
Under the initiative, trainees are required to complete the National Council of Technical Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) Information Technology level 1 course and once successful, they are awarded scholarships to pursue further studies.
Some 200 persons had benefited from the programme before lack of adequate financing forced its curtailment last year, informed Michael Thorney, Coordinator of Information Technology projects for persons with disabilities at the National Youth Service (NYS).
With the resumption of the training, Mr. Thorney told JIS News that increased emphasis would be placed on the employment aspect of the programme by ensuring that at least five per cent of jobs in the public sector were reserved for disabled persons, as stipulated by the government.
“The NYS is seeking to engage employers not only in the IT sector but also in other sectors that have IT positions available. We seek to target companies right across the board rather than limit it to only the IT sector”, he indicated.
According to Mr. Thorny, the programme was “work in progress” and its objectives were being “revisited and reassessed” to make persons with disabilities aware of the opportunities available.
“The programme has offered a source of inspiration to the almost 200 persons, who have received certification under the NCTVET,” he noted.