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KINGSTON — President of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), Joseph Matalon, says the Youth Upliftment through Employment (YUTE) Programme will be used to improve the employability of young people in the inner cities.

Speaking at the 14th Conference of Presidents and Governors-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), on November 21, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, Mr. Matalon explained that the programme seeks to empower young people in troubled communities by: improving their employability through mentorship and skills upgrading; and providing opportunities for gainful employment.

"It is a private sector led coalition that zeroes in on some of the root causes of violence and youth unemployment through an aggressive data driven designed two and a half-year programmatic approach," Mr. Matalon said.

So far, the programme has been rolled out in the communities of Denham Town, Parade Gardens, Olympic Gardens, Jones Town, Mountain View, Rockfort, Tivoli Gardens and Trench Town in the Corporate Area.

"Young people in inner city communities between the ages of 16 to 29 years are our target. We are looking to our stakeholder partners to contribute to this effort, first and foremost from the private sector, towards what we call our jobs of opportunity bank. We want a commitment (from them) to provide work experience opportunities to these young people once they have matriculated from vocational skills training," Mr. Matalon said.

He also pointed out that $874 million will be invested in the programme over the  two and half-year period.

"A significant proportion of that represents the salaries and wages that the private sector will pay to these individuals during the course of their working experience. There is a contribution from the State and we have access to existing government of Jamaica programmes offered at HEART Trust/NTA. We have actually raised about 85 per cent of the cash that will be required to undertake the programme," Mr. Matalon stated.

He further noted that close to 2,200 young people should benefit over the life of the programme and at least 1,300 of those young people will have either permanent jobs or have an opportunity to gain some work experience.

"At the end of the period, just under 1,000 new participants will remain involved in extended re-socialisation to increase their employability," the Chairman said.

The YUTE programme was designed and co-ordinated by the PSOJ, following the negative impact of the civil unrest in Tivoli Gardens, West Kingston in May, 2010 that impacted the lives of thousands of young people.

The 14th Conference is being held from November 21-24 under the theme: 'Building Together for the Future'.

The event will allow for the sharing of experiences and developments in the various territories. The programme will include a number of working sessions involving persons drawn from the fields of politics, economics, and academia, among others.

Presenters will speak on various topics, such as: ‘Expanding the Role of the Office of the Governor-General’; ‘Initiatives of the Governor-General and their Impact on Nation Building’; ‘The Centrality of CXC to Educational Development and Change in the Region’; ‘Terms and Conditions of Service’; and ‘Matters of Protocol’.

 

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter