Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, is urging the nation’s youth to pursue education and training opportunities to enhance their competitiveness in the global job market.
“The need for additional training to position yourselves with opportunities that will enable you to not only compete in Jamaica, but in the wider world, is a very noble step,” she stated.
Ms. Hanna was addressing the 2012 graduating ceremony for eastern region participants in the Diageo/Red Stripe ‘Learning for Life’ (DL4L) programmes on Tuesday (February 7), at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
She congratulated the graduates, noting that they “have taken the first step in a journey that I know will live on in your lives and that you will continue to do well”.
She also lauded Diageo/Red Stripe for transforming the lives of young Jamaicans through its Learning for Life programmes and called on other private sector bodies to implement similar initiatives to empower young people.
She noted that investment in the training of the youth, which represents the largest cohort of the Jamaican population, is critical in driving economic growth and ensuring the sustained development of the country.
Valedictorian, Omar Letford, who received training in project tourism, said he was eager to put into practice, what he learnt over the eight weeks of the course.
He thanked Diageo/Red Stripe for implementing the training programme, which seeks to engage youngsters island-wide.
A total of 350 young people graduated after successfully completing courses in tourism and bartending. The graduates were equipped with transferable skills and National Vocational Qualification (NVQJ) certification for self-employment or job placement.
Through its Learning for Life programmes, Diageo works with established educational and training organisations to provide training in tourism, retailing, the arts, hospitality, entrepreneurship, and teaching.
Launched in 2008, the DL4L initiative aims to increase opportunities for young people to find employment and become active contributors to their communities.
Diageo, formerly Guinness Brewing Worldwide, has been the majority shareholder in Red Stripe, formerly Desnoes and Geddes, since 1993.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter