JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Some 20 residents from inner-city communities in St. Catherine, are now better equipped to earn a livelihood
  • The participants were taught a range of techniques in leather craft
  • The participants were presented with certificates and material to help them kick-start their business operations

Some 20 residents from the inner-city communities of Central Village, Lauriston, and Shelter Rock in St. Catherine, are now better equipped to earn a livelihood after completing a two-month intermediate leather craft and business development skills training programme, conducted by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC).

The initiative, which was undertaken in partnership with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at the JBDC’s Incubator and Resource Centre, on Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, now enables the participants to produce a range of leather products, including belts, wallets and purses.

Funding, to the tune of $1.4 million, was provided by the Japan Social Development Fund Grant for the undertaking, which saw the participants being taught a range of techniques in leather craft.

These included: rawhide preparation, measuring and cutting, edge finishing, pattern making, cutting and assembly, surface decoration, and stud setting. The training sessions were facilitated by the JBDC’s trainers,

The participants were presented with certificates, start up leather craft kits, and course material, to help them kick-start their business operations, during a graduation ceremony at the JBDC’s Resource Centre on August 9.

Speaking with JIS News following the ceremony, JBDC Technical Services Manager, Colin Porter, underscored the importance of the training programme in equipping the participants with not only the basic skills, but the concept of entrepreneurship which, he argued, can make the difference between a good and a great product.

“It’s one thing to make a leather product; but it’s another thing to make a leather product that has the design value to it…that has some appeal. So the design value has to be of such that it can be compared to any other product coming from any other country,” he posited.

In this regard, Mr. Porter had high praise for the participants’ recognition of this and commended their positive approach to the programme, noting that they were prepared to work together to ensure its success.

“They helped each other out. If someone had a difficulty (with any of the programme’s concepts), someone (else) who would have picked up on the concept earlier would join the instructor and help their colleagues…It showed that they grasped the idea of not just gaining skills, but of camaraderie,” he said.

Mr. Porter expressed confidence that the participants will do well in their future endeavours, adding that follow-up visits will be conducted with them to keep abreast of their progress and provide assistance, where possible

Speaking on behalf of the participants, David Ormsby, in expressing gratitude for the intervention, said much was learnt during the two-month course. He noted that while the training has ended, “this is the start of something new and the essence of something great, and is the start of a (new) beginning in the lives of the (participants).”

For his part, Project Manager, Inner City Basic Services Project, JSIF, Dale Colquhoun, said the skills training intervention is aimed at assisting to increase employment and develop human resources.

He noted that in addition to the hands-on training which the participants received, they were also exposed to business development training in the areas of entrepreneurship, marketing, financing, business, and business planning.

Mr. Colquhoun informed that nearly 300 other young men and women have been certified in numerous vocational skills facilitated by the JBDC. Of this number, he said about 11 per cent are now engaged in full time employment, while another 35 per cent are involved in apprenticeships.

“These promising young individuals join a cadre of close to 7000 direct beneficiaries from approximately 62 inner city communities in the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. James,” he said.


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