JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Unattached young people, ages 15 to 29 years, are to benefit from a Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Youth and Culture.
  • The initiative, which will get underway in 2016, will target young people, who are delinquent in school, have dropped out of school, and are not employed or attached to a training programme.
  • It will seek to reintegrate them into the formal education system or into employment and vocational training, while building their confidence and self-awareness.

Unattached young people, ages 15 to 29 years, are to benefit from a Youth Empowerment and Reintegration Programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

The initiative, which will get underway in 2016, will target young people, who are delinquent in school, have dropped out of school, and are not employed or attached to a training programme.

It will seek to reintegrate them into the formal education system or into employment and vocational training, while building their confidence and self-awareness.

“We are looking at how we can reattach these youth into the formal system,” said Senior Director in the Ministry’s Youth and Adolescents Policy Division, Michele Small Bartley.

“We are seeking to get them enrolled in a HEART/Trust NTA programme or other existing programmes that are out there that can help to build employability skills, in order for them to get jobs so that they can be empowered,” she told JIS News.

Ms. Small Bartley said the objective is to engage unattached youth in positive social activities, and steer them away from antisocial behaviours, including crime.

She said statistics show that young people are the main victims and perpetrators of criminal activities and so “Ministry’s objective is to see how we can contribute to lessening the crime rate in our society, more so among youth.”

“It is really (by having) our youth reattached or connected to programmes that will bring them benefit and have them refocus on their lives rather than carry out maladaptive behaviours,” she argued.

The programme will be piloted in Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. James, and will be undertaken through the Ministry’s Youth Information Centres (YIC) as well as participating education and training institutions.

Ms. Small Bartley told JIS News that the methodology to be employed “is multi-dimensional as we …are quite cognisant of the fact that the young people are from different backgrounds and the problems that they have might be varied.”

This will involve psychotherapy approaches to promote self-awareness, self-efficacy and self-actualisation among the target group, and also the use of the creative and performing arts, sports, training, and empowerment workshops.

“We can empower our young people by helping them to realise their potential so that they can capitalise on those (possibilities) for their own growth and development. With this, we will use a myriad of approaches to try to get the youth back into the formal system,” Ms. Small Bartley said.