Mon | Aug 21, 2017

HOPE gets ready to unveil opportunities for youngsters

Published:Wednesday | May 10, 2017 | 5:00 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaks with Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman (left), national coordinator of HOPE, at a press conference to outline the programme at Jamaica House on Monday.

Targeting 15,000 apprenticeship positions for unattached young people in the first year of its roll-out, the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) programme will be providing training and employment opportunities for Jamaicans 18 to 24 years in various public-sector departments and agencies.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the Government has already identified the resources to fund the first year of the programme and is currently working out the training exercise and how these young people will be deployed in the public sector.

He said HOPE could exceed its initial roll-out by at least 5,000 jobs.

Addressing a press conference at Jamaica House on Monday, the prime minister announced the appointment of 27-year Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) veteran, Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rickman, as national coordinator of HOPE.

Rickman headed the engineering regiment of the JDF and was in charge of the Citizens' Security and Justice youth intervention programme, which targeted at-risk youth for skills training.

Holness said that Rickman would be working with government agencies to provide employment for youngsters under a national apprenticeship framework.

MORE EFFICIENT PUBLIC SERVICE

He said the Government has started revising the National Apprenticeship Act to make provision for the stipulated age cohort.

"Those who do not have basic education will get an opportunity to receive instruction through remedial programmes, while those who are not trained will be provided with opportunities to develop employable skills," Holness explained.

"We are going through every ministry, every agency, every department. What are the critical things you need to get done, the HOPE programme will identify the youngsters, give them the necessary skills, bring them under an apprenticeship framework and set them to work in building a better, more efficient Jamaican public service."

In his comments, Rickman said all participants will be trained in a core training programme comprising life skills, cultural awareness, volunteerism and mentorship and then be given the specific skills training. He noted that participants will be given a stipend and there will also be a saving component.