The Ministry of National Security, through the recently ended Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), virtually engaged more than 200 youth in pre-vocational and vocational skills training.
Between April and June, the participants from the Kingston Metropolitan Area, Central and Western regions were engaged in Mathematics, English and Life Skills Education three times per week.
The training programmes were scheduled to start in March 2020; however, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, schools and training sites were closed indefinitely, so the initiative was implemented on an online platform.
Speaking at a recently held JIS ‘Think Tank’, CSJP Programme Manager, Orville Simmonds, said the training sessions, held in partnership with the HEART/NSTA Trust, saw a 90 per cent attendance.
“Initially, we had an issue with data, as a number of them (youth) did not have data plans, but the stipend was used to assist with that. After that hurdle was cleared, it was surprising the level of engagement, as we started out with 220 and ended up with 202 persons,” he added.
Mr. Simmonds praised the work of the Case Officers who worked closely with the participants to overcome any obstacles faced in the duration of the programme.
“The Case Officers went above the call of duty by giving them individualised attention. With the work of the Case Officers, we saw significant changes in the participants at the end,” he added.
The curriculum for the Pre-Vocational participants focused on developing their literacy skills, while they waited on the training by HEART/NSTA Trust. The Vocational Skills Training participants were engaged in furthering their literacy skills in preparation for a higher level of training as well as to provide them with the life skills needed for engagement in on-the-job training.