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NEO, Fight for Peace Jamaica partner with YUTE to curb youth unemployment

Published:Thursday | December 8, 2016 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines

A joint initiative of the New Employment Opportunities (NEO) and Fight for Peace Jamaica programmes was officially introduced to the private sector and international stakeholders on Tuesday during an employers' forum and luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

The initiative is aimed at alleviating youth unemployment by creating job opportunities for young persons aged 17 to 29 who possess the academic qualifications to enter the labour force but may not have work experience or soft skills, such as communication, proper mannerism, etc.

Youth violence reduction programmes in inner-city communities are also prominent on the agenda.

The targeted communities are Hannah Town, Denham Town, Tivoli Gardens, Parade Gardens, Trench Town and Fletchers Land.

Both programmes are in cohesion with the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) programme initiated to tackle high youth unemployment and high levels of crime.

The forum served as a catalyst to engage prospective employers' to aid with internship and employment placement for more than 10,000 youth beneficiaries over the next three-year span.

Heads of several private-sector entities had the option of pledging in writing to advance various aspects of the initiative, including job creation and aiding with apprenticeship and training.

"It gives us an opportunity to commit to a bigger cause," Odetta Rockhead-Kerr, country head and vice-president for Sutherland Global Services, told The Gleaner.

"I pledged to assist all three organisations in two ways - apprenticeship programmes, as well as job opportunities. In terms of numbers, I wrote as many as you can give me that meet the expectations."

 

Good job with training

 

Luke Dowdney, founder and director of Fight for Peace, told The Gleaner: "I think YUTE and NEO are doing a great job in terms of the training side. We are really just the support mechanism for them. Our focus today was engaging the business community for them to open their doors a little bit more, not for charity, but it's for good business sense."

He added: "There are qualified young people with high levels of skill that can be very profitable for businesses. They just need the chance to get through the door."

Jermaine Campbell, a member of the Crime and Violence Youth Council and resident of the Wilton Gardens (Rema) community, gave a testimonial implored potential employers not to take into account the home address of applicants when hiring.

Joseph Matalon, chairman of YUTE, when asked what advice he gives to young qualified persons seeking employment, told The Gleaner: "Keep at it. The one thing that is consistent about those that have been successful in the programme is their persistence. Since inception, we've directly impacted the lives of about 2,500 young people through remedial, literacy, numeracy and job placement efforts."

The merged expectation of the trio is to broaden the quality and relevance of training programmes and employment systems for vulnerable young people in the country.

syranno.baines@gleanerjm.com