Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Youth info centres to be transformed into entreneurship hubs

Published:Sunday | January 21, 2018 | 5:50 PM
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green

The island's 11 youth information centres (YIC) are being transformed into innovation centres, to facilitate government's plans to encourage entrepreneurship among young people in Jamaica.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, tells JIS NEWS that the rebranding is being done through partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS), under its Democratizing Innovation in the Americas (DIA) Lab Project.

Launched in Jamaica in July 2017, the DIA Lab Project trains urban youth to become innovators with the use of cutting-edge technologies and the tools necessary to transform their communities.

It targets young people, ages 16 to 30, particularly in vulnerable communities, with the hope of transforming them into critical, creative and innovative thinkers.

The YICs, which provide free access to the Internet, serve as a focal point for the dissemination of information on youth issues and programmes, including educational training opportunities.

Green notes that the DIA lab concept is well aligned with the education ministry’s vision for youth centres.

 “There are clearly similarities in what we want to do and what the OAS has been doing across the Americas in relation to their innovation labs, which has the same sort of focus on entrepreneurship and other things in terms of programming,” he says.

Green says plans are already under way to launch a pilot in three centres across the parishes of St James, Clarendon and St Catherine early this year.

The pilot phase will be used to test and develop the model that will be rolled out in the various centres.

The youth minister notes that the rebranding will involve putting in additional personnel, such as persons with business training, who can help the young people, who have business ideas.