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Several unemployed young persons from Majesty Gardens in South West St. Andrew are to benefit from the implementation of a training and income generating initiative, valued at just under $12 million.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, on Tuesday, May 14, launched the ‘Income Generating Opportunities for Unemployed Young People through Linkages with Established Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs)’ project, at the St. Andrew Settlement in Majesty Gardens, Kingston.

The Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA), in collaboration with the St. Andrew Settlement, will execute the project, which is being sponsored by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), with funding support from the European Union Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP).

The Prime Minister encouraged beneficiaries to take full advantage of the opportunities for self development. She told them that through participation in the project, they will be embarking on a path that could change their lives forever.

“Not long from now, I want to hear of exporters graduating from this programme,” Mrs. Simpson Miller told the participants.

She urged them to pay attention to the training and never give up, no matter how difficult it gets.

“You are on a path and you are destined for success. No matter what, no matter how frustrating it might become, continue your programme and ensure you graduate. It is critical. It is about self development. You must be able to stand tall and shoulder to shoulder with people anywhere in the world,” the Prime Minister added.

The project will provide vocational training and internships for persons between the ages of 18 and 35 in areas such as creative craft from recyclable materials, and traditional craft; dressmaking; tailoring; crochet making and design; woodwork and carpentry; and jewellery making.

The beneficiaries will also be exposed to business readiness training, which include basic accounting and record keeping, marketing and sales, inventory management as well as basic computer applications, to equip them to carry out basic research and communication on the internet. They will also receive training in business communication, office deportment and etiquette skills.

Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, said the project is expected to be implemented over a five-month period.

In the meantime, General Manager of the JEA, Jean Smith, said the objective of the project is to provide support for young people in Majesty Gardens.

“We anticipate that these beneficiaries, through the empowerment tools and the programmes that will be provided, will be able to contribute in a more meaningful way to the development of their families and to their communities and also to the wider society, both in terms of the Industrial community here on Spanish Town Road and to the wider Jamaica,” she said.

The original target number was 25 young persons. However, JEA President, Andrew Collins, informed that this target has already been exceeded, explaining that in several instances the training sessions have close to 50 persons.

“This speaks to the desire of our young people to acquire income generating knowledge and skills, which can make them workplace ready or which can be used to become young entrepreneurs,” Mr. Collins said.

“We are convinced that at the end of the programme we will have some beneficiaries entering the export sector, either as entrepreneurs or through employment in existing export companies,” he said.

Contact: Andrea Braham