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The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has issued a plea for Jamaican employers to support its Special Youth Employment and Training (SYEAT) Project, despite the economic challenges.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank Session Tuesday (July 22) at the agency’s headquarters, Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston, Administrator for the SYEAT Project, Karen Courtney, said that the participants are eager and upbeat to begin the one year apprenticeship aspect of the programme, although she lamented that not enough companies are on board to take them on.
“Our challenge now is to get more employers on board. We operate in all fourteen parishes and it is not many employers who are willing to come on board, because of the financial problems that they are facing right now,” she said.
She added that the Ministry was, however, “imploring employers to try and see how best they can help.”
The Special Youth Employment and Training Project targets youngsters aged 18-25 years old, who are considered at risk and unattached. Since its inception last October, a total of 2, 507 youths were recruited, of which only 200 have been placed in jobs.
Ms. Courtney also outlined that the majority of the participants who have received employment are doing exceptionally well.
“The participants are really excited about the experience and, so far, they have been doing well. We have persons who after just three months they are placed on permanent staff, because they have done well. There was this participant who was named employee of the month. They are anxious and want to learn,” she explained.
As for the employers who are on board, she said that they have expressed a high level of satisfaction about the work being carried out by participants in their organisations.
“The employers who are part of this programme are excited about it. They are proud to have been able to make a difference in the lives of the young people. They have even gone ahead and started to network with other companies to come on board. As such we were able to get other companies on board,” she said.
The Special Youth Employment and Training Project, is a strategy to further the national policy of human resource development, where young workers are integrated into the labour market through apprenticeship arrangements. It is aimed at providing decent and productive work and will target 10, 000 persons over the next four years.
A unique feature of this project is that work experience is linked to academic learning and career guidance, as well as other life skill measures. The project utilises a cost-sharing approach, where employers provide ‘on-the-job’ training with a stipend of no less than the national minimum wage.