Kingston (Jamaica) — The Caricom Education for Employment (C-EFE) Youth Skills Development Pre-Technology programme, which was launched in June 2015, has provided training for 614 underserved youths between the ages of 17 to 29 years, exceeding its original target of 500 trainees.
This was announced at the closing ceremony of the programme which was held recently at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston. The pre-technology programme is a joint venture of the HEART Trust/NTA, C-EFE, Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada, UK Aid, Colleges and Institutes Canada, and the Canadian-based Parkland College.
The programme, which targeted youth in at-risk communities across the island, provided academic strengthening, personal (psycho-social) development and an introduction to a skills training programme. Learners were exposed to several skill areas, including food and beverage preparation, agro-processing and information and communication technologies (ICT).
Executive Director of the HEART Trust/NTA, Dr Wayne Wesley, lauded the partners for making training opportunities more accessible to the students.
“The Pre-tech programme has provided an opportunity for youths to excel and develop regardless of socio-economic background and for this reason I applaud what the C-EFE programme has done,” said Dr Wesley.
He encouraged the participants to continue to build on the skills they have learnt to acquire the full National Vocational Qualifications of Jamaica (N-VQJ) certification offered by the HEART Trust/NTA.
Canada’s Parkland College was chosen by the HEART Trust/NTA as a project partner because of its significant experience in developing and providing a wide range of preparatory/pre-technology-based education and training programmes, in Canada and other countries.
President of Parkland College, Dwayne Reeve, stated that many Canadian youths tackle the same social issues he has observed among Jamaicans.
“We absolutely appreciate the opportunity to be involved and be part of this programme as we have learnt so much through our interactions with the trainees and we will apply this to future projects and work at home,” said Reeve.
Participants of the programme endorsed it as one of empowerment as it has assisted them academically and boosted their self-esteem.
“My reading skills are coming from ground zero. I am not where I want to be right now but I feel I am on top of my game and I know I have the ability to do better,” declared an enthusiastic Malekot Goulbourne, a trainee at Girls Town Professional Development Institute.
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