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Story Highlights

  • Several hundred residents from communities in northwestern St. Ann are getting an opportunity to improve their academic qualifications.
  • Areas of training include: Computer Repair, Food and Beverage, Food Preparation, Housekeeping, Bartending, Waitering and Customer Care.
  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, in his remarks at the launch, pledged the Ministry’s full support for the initiative.

Several hundred residents from communities in northwestern St. Ann are getting an opportunity to improve their academic qualifications and make themselves more marketable, through a Skills Training and Night School programme.

The initiative, which is being funded through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) of Member of Parliament, Dr. Dayton Campbell in partnership with Red Stripe’s Learning for Life Foundation, and Bars to Go, was officially launched on Friday, December 13, at the St. Hilda’s High School Auditorium in Brown’s Town, St. Ann.

Areas of training include: Computer Repair, Food and Beverage, Food Preparation, Housekeeping, Bartending, Waitering, Customer Care, Merchandising, Cashiering, Principles of Business, Mathematics, Accounting, Business Administration, among others.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, in his remarks at the launch, pledged the Ministry’s full support for the initiative.

He encouraged the participants to make full use of the opportunity being offered to upgrade themselves.

“The more skills you have, the better you are qualified, the easier it is going to be for you to either get a job or to create a job for yourself,” he pointed out.

He made an appeal for the inclusion of English Language in the classes to be offered, noting that English is very important for employment and advancement in Jamaica and anywhere else in the world. He stated that persons, who are proficient in English, are 30 to 40 per cent more likely to be considered for employment over someone without such skill.

The Education Minister also encouraged the organizers of the training to seek out the involvement of the HEART/Trust NTA with a view to getting the participants certified in the skills areas.

Dr. Campbell, in providing details on the training, informed that already, over 800 persons have registered for the skills training aspect of the programme, while another 700 have expressed interest in the night school component.

He said that provision has also been made to accommodate the disabled community.

“We are facilitating the persons from St. Christopher’s School for the Deaf, because they too, despite their disability, need to be empowered, and so we are opening our doors so that we can facilitate a group of persons from that institution,” he stated.

He informed that more persons are expected to benefit from an expanded phase of the training, which will commence during the second week of February 2014 at some four locations.

Dr. Campbell said that he has been placing focus on education and training, as he strongly believes that these are key ingredients in empowering people and addressing the ills of society.

“Education is that one thread that once you get it right, you would be able to solve those (societal) problems.  Anything else, any other intervention that does not incorporate education as a plank in that plan, will fail. Anything else is like putting a band-aid over a gaping wound; it will not truly solve your problem unless you educate the people, because education is what changes behaviour,” he stated.