The Ministry of Youth and Culture has partnered with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ), in a bid to provide training and development for more of the nation’s youth, deemed unattached and at risk.
The partnership was formalised on April 4, with the signing of an agreement at the Ministry’s New Kingston offices, which will see the PSOJ carrying out the undertaking through its Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) project. The Ministry would be making its human, training, and other resources available to the PSOJ, through the National Youth Service (NYS).
YUTE, a two-year initiative, the first phase of which commenced in February 2011, is a holistic programme aimed at empowering young people in communities deemed volatile by: improving their employability through mentorship and skills upgrading; and providing opportunities for gainful employment.
The initial phase targets young people in eight inner-city communities in Kingston and St. Andrew namely: Denham Town, Mountain View, Parade Gardens, Rockfort, Olympic Gardens, Tivoli Gardens, Jones Town, and Trench Town.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna, informed that the PSOJ was approached, based on the success of the YUTE programme, and the need identified for partnerships in addressing the challenges facing unattached and at risk youth.
“We recognise within the (Ministry) that we can’t do it all. We have the NYS, we have the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD), but we actually need partnerships to be able to work through and, ultimately, train more of our young people, especially our unattached and at risk young people,” Miss Hanna said.
“We need all hands on deck for our young people and our development. We are committed, at the Ministry, to ensure that we put the best systems in place to, not only train, mentor, (and) place, but really put (our) young people on a trajectory to have an integrated approach which will see the (goals of their) lives better realized,” she added, while thanking the PSOJ for its input.
Chief Executive Officer, PSOJ, Sandra Glasgow, said the organisation is “thrilled” to forge the partnership, noting that, “we share the vision that the Ministry has for young people”.
“If we are going to develop sustainably, we have to incorporate and utilise all the skills available in our country. We commit to working together to make sure that the objectives that we have, together, decided (on), will be achieved,” she assured.
Noting the progress made under YUTE since its commencement, Mrs. Glasgow advised that the PSOJ planned to embark on a second phase, which will target young people in other parts of the island.
In welcoming the collaboration, Acting NYS Executive Director, Simone Smith-Parkin, is optimistic that it will effectively assist the young people targeted.
“We are certain that through this partnership…we will able to assist…to make sure that their lives are better, to ensure that they have some economic opportunities that they can capitalize on, and to ensure that their life coping skills are so developed that they are able to assist themselves to becoming better citizens of Jamaica,’ she said.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter