Heritage Programme to Connect UK Youth with Jamaican Roots

Photo: Rudranath Fraser Governor General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen (left), looks on while the Most Hon. Lady Allen (2nd left), pins United Kingdom (UK) Diaspora Advisory Board Member – Future Leader, Tanesha Westcarr, during the Governor-General’s Achievement Award ceremony held at the opening of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Sunday (July 23). Also pictured is fellow award Recipient from the UK, Vendrys Henry.

Story Highlights

  • The United Kingdom (UK) Diaspora is looking to engage young people of Jamaican heritage in a month-long internship programme in the island.
  • “We want the young people to stay connected and get a taste of Jamaica while getting their skill sets developed,” said Future Leader UK representative on the Diaspora Advisory Board, Tanesha Westcarr.
  • Dubbed the ‘Heritage Programme’, the initiative will engage young people ages 18 to 25 in a four-week work and cultural experience. It is set to get underway in December 2017.

The United Kingdom (UK) Diaspora is looking to engage young people of Jamaican heritage in a month-long internship programme in the island.

“We want the young people to stay connected and get a taste of Jamaica while getting their skill sets developed,” said Future Leader UK representative on the Diaspora Advisory Board, Tanesha Westcarr.

She was speaking to JIS News on the first day of the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Monday (July 24).

Dubbed the ‘Heritage Programme’, the initiative will engage young people ages 18 to 25 in a four-week work and cultural experience. It is set to get underway in December 2017.

Targeted are youth who have not been back to Jamaica for 15 years or more or who have never travelled to the island.

Mrs. Westcarr is seeking support for the programme from the local public and private sectors to provide meals, cultural excursions and transportation.

She said some corporate sponsors have already come on board to offer job placement.

Persons interested in assisting may contact her at twestcarr@jamaicandiasporauk.org.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Westcarr, who is one of six Diaspora recipients of the 2017 Governor-General’s Achievement Award (GGAA), is committed to bringing Jamaican youth in the UK together to deliberate on issues that affect them.

She was instrumental in starting the Jamaica Youth Forum UK in 2016, launched at the Houses of Parliament in London.

The forum provides a platform for engagement, advocacy, and empowerment, and targets Jamaican youth and those of Jamaican descent in the UK.

Mrs. Westcarr told JIS News that Members of Parliament (MP) in the UK were present to hear the issues that the young people are facing.

She said matters such as identity, leadership, crime and violence were discussed.

She noted that the session was important in providing an opportunity for the young Jamaicans to air their concerns.

“Many young people with Jamaican heritage never get a chance to come together, and they never get a chance to talk about topical issues (directly affecting them as a Diaspora).

Mrs. Westcarr said that coming out of the session, a network has been formed, where the young people can stay connected.

The young leader said that she is looking at having another youth forum in Birmingham in September.

She said that ideally, the hope is to stage the forum at least twice per year.

Mrs. Westcarr, who was nominated as Future Leader by the UK Diaspora Board, represents the UK Diaspora youth, liaising with various stakeholders including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith.

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