New programme to help develop skilled workers in Jamaica
KINGSTON, JAMAICA — In an effort to increase jobs in Jamaica and better develop a skilled workforce, the HEART/NSTA Trust has partnered with the national service with an aim to engage at least 2,000 new recruits every year.
This will be an ambitious undertaking, considering fewer than 5,300 were recruited over the past seven years.
However, if successful, it would help to improve the labour force as new recruits would not only be trained as soldiers but in diverse areas within the national service, including fields like engineering, IT and other skilled trades.
A government statement on the initiative revealed, “Starting this year, the HEART/NSTA Trust will increase its collaboration with the Jamaica Defence Force/Jamaica National Service Corps (JDF/JNSC) to recruit an additional 2,000 youth to the programme yearly…
“A total of 5,242 Jamaican youth have been trained through the programme, which was implemented in 2017 as an intervention programme targeted at unattached youngsters aged 18 to 23.”
Up until this March, the programme had some 1,066 young recruits engaged at varying levels.
This leaves programme operators until the end of the year to recruit at least another thousand young candidates if they hope to realize the programme’s goal.
Ushering youth to take up reputable jobs in Jamaica
Prime Minister Andrew Holness commented on the programme and its intent in the House of Representatives recently.
He noted that “the model has created a pool of skilled and trainable workers in the fields of security, logistics, engineering, vocational trades and information technology”.
“It is now time to scale up this programme in a significant way as one of our strategies to reintegrate our unattached youth into the workforce and divert them from joining gangs,” the prime minister said.
Further, Holness emphasized, “This is not only a security imperative; it is also an economic imperative as the country approaches full employment.
“We must ensure that our out-of-school population is directed into the workforce with work-ready knowledge, skills and attitude…
“Graduates of the JNSC programme receive certification, which gives them a competitive advantage in the labour market.
“JNSC graduates have transitioned into the JCF recruitment programme, and other public-sector and private-sector entities.”