JIS News

Youngsters in Mandeville are being invited to take advantage of a skills training programme being offered by the Andrews Memorial United Church through its Operation BEACON project.
Project chairman, Marcia Edwards, told JIS News that the training would begin next January and would entail courses in hotel hospitality, basic math and English, sewing as well as manicure and pedicure.
“I am encouraging all persons who want to learn something productive to make contact with us. We currently have space for about 25 persons,” she informed.
Started more than 12 years ago, Operation BEACON is a community/youth intervention programme, designed to provide training for young people in the areas of “business, education, arts, counselling and other needs”, Miss Edwards informed.
“Many years ago, we did a survey, which indicated that there was dire need among many of the young persons, who lived in communities around the church for skills training. What we noted however, was that many of the interested persons did not have the qualifications necessary to enter programmes such as those offered by our colleges or even HEART/NTA,” she noted.
Miss Edwards pointed out that in keeping with its mandate of being “a good Samaritan and teaching one to fish” an evening programme was initiated with special emphasis on cooking and sewing.
“The church since that time has been targeting not only adults but currently, we have a new emphasis on the 16 and 17 year olds who, after graduating from junior high schools, are still too young to access formal training and who, if left to themselves, may become sidetracked and lost before they even reach age 18,” she said.
Miss Edwards indicated that while the church provided most of the funding for the evening programmes, each participant had to make a minimal contribution.”On a weekly basis we also provide counselling for persons who are in need and from time to time, we have guest presenters who will give little talks and of course we also have games. all of our programmes go up to the CXC level,” she informed.

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