Young persons residing in Spanish Town, St. Catherine and its environs, now have access to a homework centre and a music recording studio which have been established at the newly rebranded St. Catherine Youth Innovation Centre (YIC).
Formerly referred to as a Youth Information Centre, the structure was upgraded at a cost of $1 million with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The homework centre and recording studio were officially opened by Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, during a ceremony at its Young Street location on June 7.
Mr. Green noted that the enhanced centre is providing greater opportunities for youth innovation and advancement.
He said he was particularly pleased with the recording studio which has been incorporated as a useful tool in the Ministry’s youth development framework, which will see youth using the space to hone their talents through which they can become gainfully employed.
“This studio is not just about recording songs and putting out songs…This centre is about teaching our youth that there is a whole industry relating to the music business. We want to create road and local managers, event managers, we want to create production assistants….these are some of the professions we want to see coming out,” he said.
Mr. Green stated that he wants young persons to use the space to work on their business plans, to work on their music, “but also importantly, to work with other youth on their homework”.
In the meantime, Acting Mission Director, USAID, Andrew Colburn, said he welcomed the partnership with the Education Ministry to provide a space for the continued empowerment of youth in the area.
“It is intended to equip youth with information, services and skills to build self-confidence, resilience, and reduce vulnerability by providing a safe, structured, supervised and supportive after school environment for youth to receive free access to homework assistance and tutorial services,” he said.
The Government is currently in the process of rebranding Youth Information Centres as Youth Innovation Centres, to place greater focus on positive youth development, resilience, and harnessing the talents and creative potential of youth for sustainable livelihoods.
YICs offer a suite of programmes and services that are free of cost, utilise new and emerging technologies and seek to connect youth with labour market opportunities.
The programmes will facilitate the start-up of viable and sustainable youth enterprises, particularly in the information and Communications Technology (ICT) and creative industries.