Rockfort youths paint dismal jobs picture
Young men in Top Temple, a section of Rockfort in east Kingston, say they are starving for job opportunities to come their way. They are frustrated as those opportunities are hard to come by unless they are well known by potential employers.
Hakeem Jackson, a 20-year-old resident, told a Gleaner/RISE Life Management on The Corner with Unattached Youths Forum last Thursday that the only way many of the young men in the community can reasonably find a job is through connection to somebody in high places.
"Is links a run things 'round here. It is so bad that you will have youth with nine CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council) subjects, who can't even get a work, even though he is qualified for the job, [unless] someone knows someone, who knows the owner for the business, and may have some connections," Jackson said.
The net result of this, according to Jackson, is that the youths have been turned off from even wanting to complete school as the notion exists that it makes little financial sense to complete school and to acquire qualifications as they will not be able to get jobs through legitimate means.
"And the sad part is that who gets the job is neither qualified nor certified for it. It is demoralising for those of us who actually go school, get a little education, and maybe have a few subjects behind we name," said Jackson. "All it does is to give the youth dem the notion that they can do without being qualified, and at the end of the day, all dem do is sit on streetside smoking ganja or a get themselves in a trouble," he said.
Another resident, who gave his name only as Garfield, expressed his thoughts on the matter. He said that the youths wanted opportunities and that it would be an advantage if they got a chance to attend HEART Trust/NTA classes.
"My opinion is that plenty of the youth dem not even out (leave) school yet, but dem deh pon di road and naah do nothing. So it would be nice if some could go to HEART and go back to some other school to get a trade to better themselves," he said.
Garfield said that a recent six-week apprentice programme in which he took part only whetted his appetite. Even though he has received a certificate in welding, he is still not seeing any prospects for work, and he wished the programme was longer.