The Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Culture, has embarked on its latest job creation initiative, Digital Jam 2.0.
The initiative, being undertaken in collaboration with the World Bank and other major partners, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and communication firms, Flow and LIME, comprises a programme of events, competitions and other activities, to be executed over the next six to eight weeks targeting the nation’s unemployed youth.
Digital Jam 2.0, which is being financed with grant funding and other inputs totalling upwards of US$200,000, will seek to introduce the young people to trends, training, job and entrepreneurial opportunities in the virtual economy, while showcasing their talents, ideas and successes.
The initiative was formally launched by Youth and Culture Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, during a ceremony at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), on May 8.
Ms. Hanna noted that Jamaicans are the most critical component to the nation’s survival, while pointing out that the majority of the population comprised young people.
She lamented statistics from agencies, such as the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) and the World Bank, which showed that young people under 30 contribute to 75 per cent of the crime committed in Jamaica. Further, that 70 per cent of the nation’s young people are not trained; 55 per cent left high school without attaining the requisite qualifications for matriculation into higher education; while 85 per cent of young people indicated a desire to migrate.
“But, when you go out and you speak to our young people, you recognise the tremendous talent and enthusiasm that reside in their souls for things that are Jamaican. You recognise that they want things and they want it now. They live in an environment, not only with expectations of instant entitlement, but where they believe that they can achieve anything, if given the right opportunities,” she said.
“So, what is important to understand is, we have to get creative to keep their attention,” the Minister said.
To this end, Ms. Hanna said the Ministry is now “positioning itself,” not only by strengthening the institutional framework and capacities, through the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD), National Youth Service (NYS), and Child Development Agency (CDA), but by coming up with new and creative initiatives to drive young people’s understanding that Jamaica is now a country competing with some of the larger manufacturing countries for their pride of place in the global market.
“And, the only way that we are going to get economic growth is if you, as a population, become productive, and to understand that you (youth) have to help us drive that,” she underscored.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter