MANDEVILLE — Step-to-Work programme beneficiary, Tracey-Ann Henninghan, is lauding the initiative for putting her on a path to realising her dream of becoming a teacher.
The 26 year-old resident of Thompson Town, Clarendon, is among 17 adults from the community and six others from Brandon Hill, St. Andrew, who recently completed an extensive training course under the initiative.
The course covered skills development, remediation, entrepreneurial training, job readiness and other development interventions, aimed at making them active economic contributors to society.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony held last month at the Thompson Town Baptist Church, Miss Henninghan, who already had three subjects at the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) level, told JIS News that she received further assistance, which will enable her to sit the other subjects she needs to enter teacher’s college.She said the training has created “a golden opportunity,” of which she will be taking advantage.
“The programme has helped me to gain on the skills that I already have and gain new ones. It has also helped me in my confidence and motivated me to push forward in whatever I need to do,” she said.
“The next step for me, now that I have graduated, is doing some more CXCs to add to the ones that I already have. I want to become a primary school teacher, so I am going to do primary education,” she added.
Steps-to-Work, a project of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is designed to deliver interventions to approximately 5,000 clients, 15 to 64 years, who are beneficiaries of the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH). The aim is to wean beneficiaries from PATH, by providing them with training, entrepreneurship and employment skills to become economically self-sufficient and provide for themselves and their families.
Numeracy and literacy training is provided through the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning (JFLL), while persons, who are literate, are engaged in studies to obtain certification through the HEART/NTA and other institutions.
Skilled persons are encouraged and assisted to establish micro-businesses through business development, project and financial management and marketing to ensure the success of their ventures.
Another graduate from Thompson Town, Sharon Burrell, said she learnt a lot from the training, especially the entrepreneurial workshop. “We learnt to monitor our own business and learnt to become an entrepreneur and stuff like that,” she told JIS News.
She encouraged other PATH beneficiaries, who need help, “to move on to the next level” to find out about becoming part of Steps-to-Work.
“In case that you have dropped out of school then you can pick up from there and after you pick up from there, you can go up another step on the ladder in education. You can do CXCs, whatever subjects you want to do, and you can go and do skill training or things like that,” she pointed out.
Director the Social Intervention Programme in the Labour Ministry, Marcia Bolt, commended the graduates, who were presented with certificates and awards, noting that they have been empowered to make an economic contribution to society.
“An examination of their individual development plans reveals that in this group we have in training electricians, early childhood and primary education specialists, cosmetologists, caterers and bar tenders, poultry farmers, barbers and entrepreneurs.
She had special commendations for those who have gained literacy skills, noting that “they have not only mastered their reading, writing and arithmetic, but they have gained new confidence in their potential and abilities through exposure to training in valuable life skills."
Miss Henninghan, in the meanwhile, expressed a “big thank you” to the Labour Ministry, on behalf of the graduates, for the support shown during the programme. She said Steps-to-Work provides an avenue for people with potential to achieve their goals.
“It is a good programme for many people out there like myself, who have the potential (and) can be of benefit to society, so I know that’s a good thing that the Ministry of Labour has come with”, she stated.
She said Steps-to-Work also helps to reinforce the idea of life-long learning.
“The courses have reminded us, and even taught some of us, the importance of continued learning. This was, indeed, an excellent way of saying you are never too old to learn, and life goes on beyond the poverty lines,” she said.
For further information on Steps-to-Work call the Ministry of Labour and Social Security at 922-9308.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE