640 rural youth successfully completes Skill Development Training, received certificates

More than 640 young people from rural communities have received training and certification in various skill areas, enabling them to take up jobs locally and overseas or create their own employment.

The training was conducted under a three-year programme implemented by the Jamaica 4-H Clubs through funding from the Sugar Transformation Unit in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Providing details of the initiative, Executive Director of the 4-H Clubs, Dr. Ronald Blake, informed that the areas of training included heavy equipment operation, small equipment repairs, housekeeping, and Apiculture. The courses were certified by the HEART Trust/NTA. He noted that a majority of the trainees have received employment in Canada and through other overseas and local programmes. “Importantly, over 20 percent of these youngsters have created their own employment,” he stated, while addressing the National Achievement Expo held at the Denbigh Showground in May Pen, Clarendon, on April 29.

Highlighting achievements over the past year, Dr. Blake said that 150 youth benefited under the 4-H Entrepreneurial Programme and were provided with inputs to start their own agri-businesses. The programme involves collaboration with HEART Trust/NTA. In addition, 107 agricultural scholarships were provided to students under the Rio Tinto Alcan Jamaica Legacy Fund. Approximately 467 schools were each provided with 400 chickens, while 363 hectares of land were planted with vegetables, roots, tubers, bananas, pineapple and other crops for the cooked lunch programme in schools.

Meanwhile, Dr. Blake underscored that 15 poultry houses were built in schools over the last five years, and more than 400,000 broilers have been distributed under the Jamaica Broiler Initiative to young people and farmers. The programme is funded by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).

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