Tue | Jun 2, 2020

USF targets 1,000 persons for TAP

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley assists a student in accessing the Internet as part of his ministry’s drive to get more Jamaicans online.

Approximately 1,000 persons are slated to benefit from the latest efforts by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology to increase Internet use in Jamaica.

The Technology Advancement Programme (TAP), which was launched recently, is being funded to the tune of $450 million and will run for a year.

Under TAP, Jamaicans between the ages of 18 and 35 will receive training and practical experience in information communications technology (ICT).

According to Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley, while the ministry is already providing Internet access and service, particularly to members of vulnerable groups through its Universal Service Fund (USF), many Jamaicans are still not using ICT to its full potential.

Marketing and public relations manager at the USF, Deleen Powell, says the first three months will take the form of training which will be administered and certified by the Caribbean Maritime University. The other nine months will be on-the-job experience.




"These persons will be placed at various government entities across the country, in the parishes where they reside where they will now be able to make full use of the skills that they would have acquired during the three-month period," said Powell

She added that the programme, when completed, should see hundreds of unattached youth being equipped with the skills and work experience to participate in the global digital economy.

"This will allow them to engage in things such as digitisation, data collection and analysis, record-keeping and other activities associated with digital technologies so that they can either seek employment within the ICT sector or become ICT entrepreneurs," said Powell.


... Oversubscribed but still open


The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology programme to increase Internet use in Jamaica, the Technology Advancement Programme (TAP), is already oversubscribed but is still accepting applications.

The first participants under the programme will start training on March 5, but Deleen Powell, marketing and public relations manager at the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is financing the TAP, says new applicants are not being rejected.

"What we have done is, if there's anyone, for whatever reason they were selected and they are not able to participate, then we will be able to accommodate those persons who are just applying," said Powell.

She noted that one of the key features of TAP is that participants will be provided with a stipend to cover all their expenses during the one-year period.

"They will be getting this at no cost to them whatsoever because at the end of the day, it all ties in with our overall mandate, which is to ensure that Jamaica becomes a knowledge-based society; and the only way that we can do that is if our people are fully equipped," said Powell.