Sunday 9 December, 2018

Residents welcome skills training programme for youth In St Catherine

Health Minister and West Central St. Catherine Member of Parliament, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), interacts with Early Childhood Instructor for the training programme for unattached youth, Arlene Brown (2nd left), and students during the initiative’s recent launch at the Kitson Town community resource centre via Jamaica Information Service.

Health Minister and West Central St. Catherine Member of Parliament, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left), interacts with Early Childhood Instructor for the training programme for unattached youth, Arlene Brown (2nd left), and students during the initiative’s recent launch at the Kitson Town community resource centre via Jamaica Information Service.

Trishania Jackson Taylor is one of 104 residents of West Central St Catherine enrolled in a training programme for unattached youth, which has been embraced by the entire community.

The programme, which the mother of one joined some two months ago, represents a major stepping stone in realizing Jackson Taylor’s once unimaginable dream of becoming a teacher.

In light of the opportunity to this end coming her way through the programme, Jackson Taylor is relishing the thought of finally achieving this goal on completing her studies.

The initiative is the brainchild by Health Minister and Member of Parliament Christopher Tufton, and is being spearheaded through Future Hope, an organization he was instrumental in establishing, with support from other stakeholders.

The programme offers certification in Early Childhood Education, Allied Nursing, and Webpage Design, among other vocations, with certification by HEART Trust/NTA.

It is being financed through the Constituency Development Fund and other sources, with courses being delivered at the Kitson Town community resource centre, and Tacius Golding High School.

The effusive Jackson Taylor recalls her encounter with a group of uniformed persons at the centre while taking her son to school one morning.

She tells JIS News that on inquiring, she was told that the individuals were involved in a training programme at the centre. She says she was further advised of the sole remaining spot for enrolment in the early childhood teacher training programme, at the time.

Jackson Taylor says she seized the opportunity to enroll and looks forward to graduating and securing a job, thereby breaking the monotonous cycle of “staying at home”.

She describes the programme as a “good thing”, adding that “it is overwhelming, knowing that my dreams are finally coming to pass”.

Jackson Taylor points out that many of the community’s young people are showing interest in the initiative, noting that since enrolling, she has seen other persons inquiring about it, adding that “it is really a good thing to empower (the) young people”.

 

Another resident, certified electrician, Johnnoy Cameron, who also heard about the programme and enrolled to be trained as a webpage designer, contends that “I am going to be an even better person (by acquiring) this skill”.

Another student, Natasha Martin, says she is using the opportunity to equip herself with an additional skill to enhance her job marketability as also position herself to become self-employed and, in the process, boost her economic base.

Speaking at the programme’s recent launch at the Kitson Town centre, Tufton said it represented a “great start”, particularly for young persons seeking skills training, adding that the feedback is “a good indication that people want to be empowered”.

He advised that an additional $1.5 million will be spent to purchase medical equipment for the nursing students.

The Minister pointed out that this will ensure that “you can practice, and truly qualify, not only in books (but)…on the clinical side”.

He said the areas of training were chosen based on market demand, to enable participants to be adequately be prepared for a “reasonable chance” at becoming gainfully employed.

Tufton indicated that Future Hope’s establishment is grounded in the vision of providing training and education for the persons, so that “you can be better off later on…and live in an environment of peace and security”.

HEART Trust Coordinator, Cammeshia Harrison, notes that there is growing demand for health professionals and webpage developers in particular, and urges students in those and other courses to “continue to work hard and do well”.

Programme Coordinator, Lena Russell, who is also Principal of Tacius Golding High School, points out that the partnership forged to facilitate the initiative is solutions-oriented and pivotal to realizing the improvements being sought by the students in their personal and professional development.

“These participants will broaden their experiences, own their employability and lead innovation. These participants are a delightful bunch who are eager to learn and (are motivated in this regard),” she adds.

The Kitson Town community resource centre is managed by the Kitson Town Community Development Committee, which is chaired, Devon Thompson,

He says the group is committed to supporting the training programme, which they regard as a means of empowering community members.

Social Development Commission Community Development Officer, Norda Lyons, contends that the programme is a journey for the students, at the end of which “you will be happy that you participated in this great initiative”.

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