JIS News

Local soft drink company, Jamaica Beverages Limited has endorsed in cash and kind several youth empowerment programmes under the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD), totalling $1.25 million.
The contract signing and handing over of a $100,000 cheque toward this cause took place at the Ministry of Education and Youth Heroes’ Circle offices on Tuesday (July 17).
Under the partnership, the company will provide 1,468 cases of beverages to be delivered in three tranches to support the Centre’s activities.
The National Secondary Schools Council (NSSC) is the main beneficiary of the donations, which will be used to support the Council’s Capacity Building Workshop, as well as Youth Month activities, and the Prime Minister’s Youth awards. The NSSC workshop is currently underway (July 15-28) at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
State Minister for Education and Youth, Senator Noel Monteith, in his remarks thanked the company for its contribution to the development of young Jamaicans. He noted that “the signing of the contract and handing over of the cheque marks one of the many partnerships between the Ministry of Education and Youth and our private sector entities towards the creation and sustenance of programmes for youth.”
Underlining the handing over of subventions valued at $2 million to almost 100 youth groups in 2006 and the professionalisation of youth work, Senator Monteith said the Ministry continued to create and sustain several initiatives for youth development and empowerment.
Efforts in this regard, he informed, involved the certification of youth workers island wide through a programme involving the Ministry, the Commonwealth Youth Programme Centre, and the National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET) and “the development of competency standards for the introduction of a Diploma in Youth Work offered through the Social Welfare and Training Centre, UWI, Mona by the NCYD and National Council on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (NCTVET).”
Senator Monteith pointed out that youth empowerment officers have also received training in policy implementation and urged the young people to continue “to participate in the activities of your country”.
Meanwhile, President elect of the NSSC, Kemesha Kelly, thanked Sales Manager, Terrence Smith, who represented the company, for investing in the youth. “This is a company that wants to see the continuity of Jamaica as they have confidence in the people of tomorrow, our youth,” she noted. She assured that the company will not regret its contribution “to the future of Jamaica, to the youth.”
Director of the NCYD, Ohene Blake described the contribution as a “heartening” gesture, which “comes at the centre of (our) transformational approach to development.” He added that it is often difficult to find persons to invest in leadership and in the young persons who are progressing. “But if we are to develop leaders for our democracy, leaders for our society, our church and our business in the 21st century, we have to begin making the investment in our youngest and brightest leaders so that we have a transformation in our society that we so dearly want in Jamaica,” he asserted.
Mr. Blake also noted that the NCYD is presently engaged in training more than 150 youth leaders from secondary and junior high schools across the island in conflict resolution and mediation.
The National Centre for Youth Development is the arm of the Ministry that leads the initiatives for youth development and empowerment. It was established in 2000 to fulfill the mandate of the National Youth Policy.

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