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    • Twenty-seven youth from inner-city communities in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, have earned National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) certification in hairstyling through the inaugural Jamaica National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (JNC-UNESCO) Empowerment of At-Risk Youth programme.
    • The project aims to equip young women with the requisite skills and certification to become entrepreneurs and, ultimately, economically independent. Certification qualifies the graduates to work in the beauty services industry.
    • The four-month training programme was implemented in collaboration with the HEART Trust/NTA College of Beauty Services.

    Twenty-seven youth from inner-city communities in Spanish Town, St. Catherine, have earned National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) certification in hairstyling through the inaugural Jamaica National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (JNC-UNESCO) Empowerment of At-Risk Youth programme.

    The project aims to equip young women with the requisite skills and certification to become entrepreneurs and, ultimately, economically independent. Certification qualifies the graduates to work in the beauty services industry.

    The four-month training programme was implemented in collaboration with the HEART Trust/NTA College of Beauty Services.

    Participants were trained in hairstyling and shaping and thermal straightening. Supporting courses include communication, first aid, and work planning and organisation.

    Industry professionals were also invited to address the young people on the importance of teamwork and accountability and conduct career talks during the training, which culminated with a hair show.

    The participants were presented with their certificates during a graduation ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Tuesday (January 28).

    Guest speaker, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister and Chair of the JNC-UNESCO, Hon. Olivia Grange, congratulated the participants for “staying the course”.

    She also lauded JNC-UNESCO for initiating the project, noting that it creates opportunities for young persons to receive skills training.

    “It is about young people in communities who are at-risk and who need a second chance. It is important that you give individuals opportunities in life… not handouts, but the tools to help themselves,” she said.

    Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and Chair of the JNC-UNESCO Youth Committee, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., who also spoke, said although unemployment has fallen to 7.2 per cent – the lowest rate ever – there are many young people who still face tremendous social and economic challenges and need training opportunities to improve their economic prospects.

    “The collaboration with Heart Trust/NTA… and [seeing] you here today… gives me hope that we will be able to solve our problems. If we partner together with purpose, there is nothing we can’t overcome,” he said.

    Senator Charles said through the programme, “we want to create entrepreneurs… persons who can go out and stand on their own two feet; and we want to ensure that whatever we are doing is sustainable”.

    Principal/Director of HEART’s College of Beauty Services, Kaydia King Newman, for her part, said the institution is “proud of the transformation of these learners as they embark on the next ladder of their professional development”.

    The project has two components – cosmetology training for young women and a literacy programme for young boys in children’s homes.

    The UNESCO Youth Committee received a US$15,000 grant from the UNESCO Participation Programme to assist with the project’s implementation.

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