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  • Labour Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has encouraged young people from western Jamaica, who benefited from a Steps-to-Work Summer Camp, to use the experience to improve their social and economic circumstance, and contribute to the development of their communities and country.
  • During the three-week camp organised by the Ministry, the 88 youngsters, from the parishes of St. James, Hanover and St. Elizabeth, participated in three weeks of intensive training.
  • There were also classes in English and Mathematics as well as activities to assist in their personal development, through sports, drama and cultural literacy.

Labour Minister, Hon. Derrick Kellier, has encouraged young people from western Jamaica, who benefited from a Steps-to-Work Summer Camp, to use the experience to improve their social and economic circumstance, and contribute to the development of their communities and country.

During the three-week camp organised by the Ministry, the 88 youngsters, from the parishes of St. James, Hanover and St. Elizabeth, participated in three weeks of intensive training in the areas of food preparation, barbering, nail technology, cosmetology, plumbing, and electrical installation, among other areas.

There were also classes in English and Mathematics as well as activities to assist in their personal development, through sports, drama and cultural literacy.

Minister Kellier, who addressed the closing ceremony held at the Maldon High School in St. James on August 28, urged the youngsters to “use this summer camp experience to move from vulnerability into a position of personal sustainability.”

“Become better workers and better members in your communities. Jamaica belongs to you and you are a part of the next generation of nation builders,” he added.

The campers, ages 18 to 19, were among 200 beneficiaries under the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), who participated in two camps, aimed at preparing them to be re-integrated into the formal education system and labour market.

The other camp was held at the YWCA School Leavers Institute on Arnold Road in Kingston.

Minister Kellier noted that with the skills they have learnt, the camp participants will be in a better position to capitalise on job opportunities locally and internationally.

“Indeed, job prospects exist in labour markets overseas, especially for skilled workers. In the Canadian labour market, for example, skills such as accounting, mechanics, trailer driving, and heavy duty mechanics and construction are increasingly in demand,” he pointed out.

“Our challenge as a country is to supply such skilled workers on a consistent and reliable basis and this is part of the discussion in which I engaged on recent trips to Canada and the United States of America (USA),” Minister Kellier told the participants.

He informed that by the end of January 2016, each of the participants should be placed in one of the interventions offered under the Steps-To-Work programme.

These are the HEART Trust/NTA vocational programmes; job readiness training, for those who have the academic qualifications to enter the job market; and interventions to complete secondary education, which will be implemented in January through collaboration with community colleges and other post secondary institutions.

In her remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Colette Roberts Risden, said Steps-to-Work is an important part of the Government’s strategy to reduce the youth unemployment rate, through social interventions, skills training and employment programmes.

The annual summer camp, which is in its sixth year, involves partnership with the Ministry of Education, the National Youth Service (NYS), the HEART Trust/NTA and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL).

Steps-To-Work targets working age members of families on PATH, providing them with training and on-the-job experience to enable them to seek and retain employment.