JIS News

The HEART Trust/ NTA has been working in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Ocho Rios and the Ocho Rios Baptist Church in an effort to train unskilled young people in and around the area to better equip them for the job market.
“Over 35 per cent of the youngsters in and around Ocho Rios are unemployed and we are working to change this,” President of the Ocho Rios Rotary Club, Earl Watson told JIS News. He added that, “The Rotary club of Ocho Rios began a skills training programme in October 2001, when we established our skills training centre in space provided at the Ocho Rios Baptist Church”.
Mr. Watson further informs that, “Many young adults have graduated from the centre over the years and we are proud to say that to date our centre is still in operation and it has been a great success”.
He told JIS News that the centre was handed over to the Ocho Rios Baptist Church for monitoring and the HEART Trust/ NTA, for their technical and financial support.
“The HEART Trust came on board this project two years ago and we are grateful to them for their work in terms of curriculum development and certification as well as for paying the instructors and providing a stipend for the students,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coordinating Manager at the Centre, Faithlyn Campbell informed that training was being offered in the in the areas of electrical installation and plumbing. The trainees are also required to do support subjects such as Mathematics, English Language, Information Technology and Entrepreneurial skills.
“The course lasts for a little over six months and at the end those students who are competent will gain a HEART Level One certificate and we encourage our graduates to further their training and work to gain a level Two certificate as well,” she said.
Mrs. Campbell disclosed that, “Plans are being made to expand on the programme here. We want to include a Level One food and beverage restaurant service course in order to attract more females, seeing that over the years our courses have been male oriented”.
She further informed that many of the students who graduated in April of this year, had already gained employment and were doing well in their jobs, adding that a few of them were awaiting response in regards to overseas employment.
“We are accepting applications now as the next cycle will begin in December and we are appealing to those who need to acquire a skill to come to the centre and access the training so that they can become productive citizens,” she said.
Student, Mara Wildman, stated that his enrollment at the Rotary/ Ocho Rios Baptist Skills Training Centre has brought about a positive change in his life.”Before I started to attend this skills training centre I really didn’t have any directions as to where I wanted to go in life but now that I am here I can see a definite change. Not only am I learning electrical installation but I am also learning entrepreneurial skills so that if I want to start my own business I will know how to go about it,” he said.
The good thing about the school, he said, was that the classes were small and therefore the students could get individual attention.
“I am so glad that the centre is right here in Ocho Rios because it prevents me from traveling all the way to Portmore or Port Maria so it also helps to cut back on traveling expenses,” he said.
Another student, Kenroy Miller, said that he was enjoying his course of study and that he hoped to grasp a lot from the course, as it was his intention to become a certified plumber.
Phyllis Williams, the only female student at the centre, said her ambition was to become a chief engineer and that she was learning as much as possible at the centre, so that her dream could become a reality.
“I used to do electrical installation as a subject while I was attending the Ocho Rios High School so doing the course now is only a continuation for me. After I graduate, I would love go further in the career and enroll in the Port Maria Skills Centre, where I plan to do the Level Two electrical installation course,” she said. Phyllis thanked the Rotary/ Ocho Rios Baptist HEART Skills Training Centre for giving her the opportunity to realize her true potential.