- The institution is a multi-faceted centre, offering programmes in leadership skills and high school equivalency courses
- The academy will provide a second chance for people who have dropped out of school
- The project will enable skilled persons to get certified
The establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Academic School of Learning and Marketable Skills, in the St. Ann-based community of Orange Hill, is being hailed as an important initiative for the residents of the area.
The institution, which is the brainchild of founder of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Dr. Jeffery Mills, is a multi-faceted centre, offering programmes in leadership skills, social and interactive media, high school equivalency courses, and other marketable skills such as food and nutrition, information technology and garment construction.
Principal of the Keith All-age School in the parish, Radcliffe Gordon, in his address at the recent dedication ceremony, said that the establishment of the academy will provide a second chance for people who have dropped out of school.
Mr. Gordon also commended the church’s continued support to education, through the establishment of schools.
“Government can’t do all that is necessary, and when you see a church come into play, to continue to give people a second chance, it is a commendable thing. This is something that can only help the community, and I sincerely hope and pray that the community will embrace it with both arms and make full use of it,” he stated.
Recruitment Officer at HEART/NTA, Tanika Kenear, also lauded the project, noting that it will enable skilled persons to get certified.
“A lot of persons around are skilled in some ways, but they don’t have anything to back up that skill, so it is good that the church is embarking to work with persons to become certified and trained in whatever skill area they have. Having a skill and being certified gets you across borders…it makes you more marketable, it empowers you,” she pointed out.
For his part, Special Inspector with the Brown’s Town Police, Wayne Sutton, commended Rev. Mills for his commitment to the development of the Orange Hill community through education.
He noted that education “is the key out of poverty”, and urged those who will benefit to “allow yourselves to learn as much as possible”.
“If all of us are more educated, we will know how to deal with our issues, be a good neighbour, be a good friend,” he argued.
At the ceremony, Member of Parliament for North West St. Ann, Dr. Dayton Campbell, offered to pay the fees for the first 50 students to register at the facility.
Endorsement of the institution also came from Regional Director with the Ministry of Education, Maxine Headlam.