Dropouts get second employment chance

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Over the next four years, some 10,000 unemployed Jamaican youths, many of whom are high-school dropouts, will be given a second chance at establishing a career.

Twenty-five-year-old Carletta Green, a resident of Orange district in St James, is one of them.

Green and her colleagues are being given a second chance through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s Special Youth Employment and Training Project.

Green was unable to complete high school because her parents did not have the money.

With just a fourth-form education, no academic qualifications or vocational training, she found it difficult to find steady employment.

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Green is now grateful that she has another opportunity to attain a significant milestone.

“I am really happy for a second chance to make something of myself,” she told The Gleaner.

Speaking yesterday, during the launch of the programme at the Hilton Kingston hotel in New Kingston, Labour Minister Pearnel Charles said the project was developed as a short-term labour market intervention to promote youth employment, skills training and development.

Until 2012, the programme will target some 2,500 young people between the age of 18 and 25 years each year.

They will benefit from on-the-job training, as well as training from several vocational institutions, including HEART Trust/NTA and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning.

Restoring hope

At least 25 corporate bodies have already signed on to the project. These entities will employ and train the youths for a period of one year.

Charles said the programme was geared towards ensuring that Jamaican youths had a future in the productive sector, and restoring hope for many despondent youths.

“One of the main factors which contribute to youth unemployment is the lack of the requisite competence and skills to function effectively in the labour market,” said Charles. “Many young Jamaican workers are untrained, unskilled and, therefore, unemployable.”

According to data contained in the 2007 Labour Force Survey, 56.5 per cent of all unemployed first-time job seekers have no formal educational qualifications.

Additionally, 74 per cent of unemployed youths have not benefited from formal training.

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