The operations and programmes delivered by Youth Information Centres (YICs) across the island are to be reviewed and improved under the Youth Development Programme (YDP).
This was revealed by Project Manager, Project implementation Unit (PIU) in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Marjery Newland, as she addressed a St. Catherine Stakeholders’ Participatory meeting on Thursday (June 7) at the St. James Cathedral, Spanish Town.
The meeting was held to discuss matters concerning the construction of a St. Catherine Youth Information Centre (YIC) and National Youth Service (NYS) Training Centre, which is underway in Spanish Town.
Under the YDP, which is a four and a half-year initiative funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), provisions have been made for the construction of four YICs in St. Catherine, Clarendon, Trelawny and Hanover. This is addition to the six existing YICs.
“Funds have also been identified under this project for institutional strengthening of the National Youth Service (NYS), to create improved facilities for training and administration in the parishes of St. Catherine, Clarendon and hopefully in Trelawny and Hanover,” she said.
Mrs. Newland said this will allow for the creation of youth-friendly spaces, where young people can access a variety of services, including training, counselling and the use of a cyber centre.
“These facilities will be easily accessible to them within the parish and will contribute to an easier transition for them from school to work or from wherever they are, to work,” she said.
Young people will also have access to information about alternative dispute resolution strategies, safe sexual practices, a homework centre, among other things.
The St. Catherine site is at the old Spanish Town police station and courthouse, which has historic significance in the parish. Mrs. Newland informed that because it is in the heritage district, the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) will partner with the project implementers to ensure that the historical integrity of the site is maintained.
Construction of the Clarendon facility is also underway in May Pen, and this, along with the Spanish Town facility, are slated for completion in September/October this year.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter