JIS News

Youth for Excellence (YFE) Limited, a non-profit organisation, will host two symposia in the communities of Grants Pen in St. Andrew North Eastern and Rose Town in St. Andrew South.

They are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 30 and Wednesday, December 14 respectively, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Founder, Board Co-Chair and President of the YFE, Jénine Shepherd, told JIS News during an interview that the two symposia are soft launches for a bigger project called Farm the Future, which has been in the pipeline and is to be officially launched in early 2023.

Farm the Future is a vocational training programme, with special emphasis on urban agricultural techniques, specifically aquaponics. Rose Town and Grants Pen are the two pilot communities for this programme.

“The whole point of the symposia is that the participants will have an opportunity to learn about what the Farm the Future project is, and they can begin to sign up while receiving more immediate community intervention services,” Miss Shepherd said.

Several entities will be on hand to provide social services to the attendees. They include the National Housing Trust (NHT), which will provide information on housing; the Registrar General’s Department (RGD), to facilitate the birth certificate application process and HEART/NSTA Trust to talk about the various courses offered by the entity.

The Ministry of Justice will also provide legal-aid support to those who have such a need.

Representatives from the Edna Manley Health Centre will be at the Grants Pen location and the Southern Regional Health Authority is scheduled to be at Rose Town. They will provide a wide range of health checks free of cost.

During each event the YFE, with support from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will make presentations on the Farm the Future programme, while encouraging participants to sign up.

More than 1,000 participants between 15 and 50 years of age are expected to participate in the two symposia. Registration for both days will start at 10:00 a.m. and each participant will be scanned at the gate where they will receive an armband.

“In terms of the age range, we really wanted to target young people who are on the fringe of society, especially those who have not completed their schooling and could really use some form of certification. However, we decided to open it up to older people because we realise that older farmers could also serve as mentors to the younger people. In addition, this is a way for them to learn a new and valuable skillset to take their farming to another level,” Ms. Shepherd said.

Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, who is also Member of Parliament for St. Andrew North Eastern will address the Grants Pen symposium, while Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South, Mr. Mark Golding, is scheduled to address the Rose Town symposium.

Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, is expected to attend both events. Representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries will also be in attendance.

“I’m encouraging members of the communities to really come out and just learn about the Farm the Future programme. They will have a lot to gain by attending and have their needs attended to by the different agencies in one place at the same time,” Miss Shepherd said.

The events are sponsored by Main Events Entertainment Group, Seprod Group of Companies, Tru Shake, and Cybertronics Coffee Shop and Photo Centre.

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