JIS News

The National Youth Service (NYS) is implementing a pilot project, aimed at empowering out-of-school young people and providing them with skills through training programmes.
“This pilot will begin this year and by next year we will be able to, on account of the lessons from the pilot, make a more deliberate and dispassionate determination about how we go forward in engaging those set of young people who are unattached in that cohort of the population,” Executive Director of the NYS, Rev. Adinhair Jones, said in an interview with JIS News.
Rev. Jones pointed out that funding for the project will be provided under the International Development Bank Youth Development Loan, which comes into effect this year.
“Already we are putting in consultants to evolve the programme and to put the NYS in a better position in terms of our human resources, in terms of our physical infrastructure, and in terms of our overall social infrastructure,” he added.
Rev. Jones said that there are a growing number of unattached young people who have left primary and all-age schools and have not had the opportunity to further their educational development.
He said the NYS will be collaborating with the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning and the Heart Trust/NTA, to implement suitable programmes for persons in this group. According to Rev. Jones, the programmes will be geared towards young males, to improve their literacy and numeracy levels and to provide them with skills through vocational training.
“This pilot, I believe, is an exciting one because it is reaching a target for which the policy makers have been grappling for a long long time, and it will provide training and engagement in three areas that I believe hold the solution for the re-orientation and for the advancement of a productive life for those young people who would otherwise become lost,” he added.
Apart from providing young people with a productive life, Rev. Jones said the programme would “assist in curbing the violent and anti-social behaviour that seems to be becoming main stream in that cohort in our society.”
Meanwhile, Government has budgeted some $82 million this fiscal year on youth empowerment and development programmes. Of this amount, $50 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Education for a Youth Development Programme, aimed at strengthening institutional capacity to implement, monitor and evaluate youth policies and programmes. The NYS will receive $32 million for the upgrading of NYS training facilities and a Youth Empowerment and Participation Programme.

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