Several inner-city residents from across the country have now been equipped with the tools necessary to significantly improve their lives, having completed the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce's (JCC) Youth Leadership Training Programme.
Approximately 32 of the 55 youth who successfully completed the course, were presented with certificates during the graduation ceremony for the 54th cohort of the programme, held at the JCC's offices in Kingston, on August 24.
Programme participants were trained in the areas of conflict management, interpersonal skills, human relations, employability skills, community leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing and family life, over a six-week period. Participants also included several members of law enforcement.
The training course, held in collaboration with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), is an initiative of the JCC's Civic Affairs and Inner-city Development Committees. The aim is to improve the relationship between citizens and police, in order to reduce crime and to provide residents with the skills to contribute to the development of their communities.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, who was guest speaker at the event, told the graduates that while the training they received, “is by no means a complete solution, it will get you started on the road to a better life."
"It is what will make the difference in your communities between success and failure. I want to encourage you to use the knowledge gained to start your own businesses, and to create employment in your communities. The Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce is prepared to work with you and to make whatever resources we have available to you,” he said.
The Minister commended the JCC "for being visionary and for the tremendous role you have been playing in helping to develop the minds of the residents of the inner-city communities, so that they can become outstanding leaders and more self-reliant individuals."
He said it is notable that since the inception of the programme, some 3,000 inner city youth and about 240 police officers have been trained at institutions, such as the Institute of Management and Production and the University College of the Caribbean. “Your intervention, I am sure, has influenced and has transformed many lives,” he said.
Chairman of the Inner-city Development Committee, Sameer Younis, reminded the participants that they have received an opportunity to empower themselves to do better, “not only for yourselves but for your communities."
"You are ambassadors of this programme. So, I expect you to go out…and take some of the younger children in the community under your wings and try and pass on the knowledge that you have learnt here, so they can change their lives,” he urged.