JIS: The Government will be scaling up youth training and employment under the National Service Corps Programme (NSCP) through a massive financial injection of $1.2 billion this financial year.
State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, made the disclosure in his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 8).
“Last year, we put $200 million into the National Service Corps programme. Because we are seeing the results, this year, it is budgeted that we will put, from the HEART Trust/NTA, $800 million, and from the World Bank a further $390 million into the programme,” he informed.
The brainchild of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, the NSCP aims to create an avenue for young people, aged 18 to 24, to be fully empowered through education, training and certification.
It falls under the Government’s Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) initiative, targeting job and training opportunities for unattached young people.
Minister Green said that of the 6,345 applications received, a total of 4,762 youths have been trained in core skills and work-ready behaviours required by the labour market.
Approximately 1,200 persons have been placed across 23 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including the HEART Trust/NTA, Office of the Prime Minister; Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation; Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, National Land Agency; National Housing Trust; National Irrigation Commission; and the Ministry of Justice.
Mr. Green said that an estimated $200 million has been spent under the programme from June 2017 to February 2018 for payment of stipend, rental of venue, training costs, meals and refreshments.
He said the focus now is to transition the youth from training to employment, thereby creating a pathway for continued lowering of the youth unemployment rate.
The latest report from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) shows that the youth unemployment rate has declined to 23.8 per cent from 33 per cent when the Government took office in February 2016.
“That is an almost 10 per cent drop; it’s not by chance,” Mr. Green said, crediting the decline to “a targeted and purposeful approach to youth unemployment” by the Government.
CAPTION: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, making his 2018/19 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on May 8