MP Robinson seeking to develop human capital
CITING YOUTH unemployment as one of the main challenges affecting the economy and, by extension, his South East St Andrew constituency in 2014, Member of Parliament Julian Robinson says programmes were last year established to better prepare residents to seek out their own economic opportunities.
"In developing the human capital, we created training opportunities so that persons can be equipped, not just for the world of work, but also for creating their own opportunities," Robinson told The Gleaner yesterday.
In his 3rd Annual Constituency Report, which he released yesterday, Robinson said Internet Income Jamaica carried out an online training exercise for members of his constituency to highlight how they could use the Internet to make money online.
The government MP said he forged partnerships with private-sector entities to implement training programmes for constituents. He said Musson Foundation donated a number of tablets to a programme geared towards teenaged boys in Nannyville, St Andrew.
He said about 30 youngsters were exposed to robotics "and how they could use the tablets to develop solutions, to come up with applications which could help them to become entrepreneurs down the road".
The first-time MP said he spent $3 million from his Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to provide support for 426 students, particularly at the primary and high school levels.
Robinson acknowledged that accessing funding for tertiary level students remains a serious challenge, noting that even among those who received loans from the Students' Loan Bureau, last year, there existed a shortfall which many could not finance.
In a bid to encourage entrepreneurial activities among his constituents, a financial literacy workshop was staged for more than 20 residents. According to Robinson, a collaborative effort between Christ Church in Vineyard Town and the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance, led to a one-day training workshop for 22 micro-entrepreneurs.
Turning to an initiative to tackle electricity theft in seven inner-city communities, including McGregor Gardens, in his constituency, Robinson said the first phase of improving the infrastructure for installing power has been complete.
He told The Gleaner that the process to select 100 homes for rewiring has started in the community.
"If your home is not rewired and passed by the government electricity inspector, you cannot access electricity legally," he said.
He added that the cost to rewire houses was high for low-income earners.
Under the pilot programme, dubbed 'Step Up', prepaid metres are to be installed which would operate similar to prepaid credit for mobile phones.
Robinson said the prepaid metres would help residents to better manage their electricity consumption.