YSEP off to strong start
The more than 600 young people who packed the auditorium of the Douglas Orane Auditorium at the Wolmer's Boys' School in Kingston last Friday was a signal to the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation that its Youth Summer Employment Programme (YSEP) is a well-needed intervention.
Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams used the launch to applaud the Ministry of Local Government and the Cabinet, by extension, for consistently involving and engaging the youth in local government.
"We have seen an increase of 50 per cent in the allocation to each division for the summer employment programme and we are grateful. A lot was accomplished last year through this initiative and the city and the youth mutually benefited;" said Williams.
He charged the youth in attendance to take the opportunity as one of leadership, and encouraged them to consider themselves as a part of the government for the next few weeks and apply themselves to their respective tasks.
"I want you to take this as an opportunity to apply your skills to the city of Kingston. Your skills are ultimately for the city, your family and country to benefit. You are the future of Jamaica, and we want you to be engaged and involved," added Williams.
He said he is firm in his belief that the youth will be the difference in the transformation of our urban centres, and that the YSEP is an excellent tool to get them involved in governance.
For his part, Robert Hill, town clerk, in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner at the YSEP orientation session, said the focus this year will be on placing young people in areas which include the verification of street lights, checking signs, billboards and trade licences, in addition to work in disaster-prone areas.
"The minister (Desmond McKenzie) has assigned disaster coordinators, and five of these participants will work with him to ensure that we look at those areas which require special attention as it relates to disaster issues which may exist," said Hill.
"Unemployment is a reality but this provides a stepping stone for these persons who would otherwise require experience. This will give them that kind of experience which will require them to interact with the public, to deal with data management, to collate and to make presentations, as well as to build their own experience and life skills.
"We are happy to be a part of this programme. We expect great things from them. This is a rich set of young people raring to go, and we are providing them with this opportunity of life experience to build their own professional profile," added Hill.
Deputy Mayor Winston Ennis shared similar sentiments, but said that he hopes the young people will move beyond academics and what they are told to do, and instead garner skills that will take them through life.
"This is a programme which will have our young people occupied at this time. It sends a signal that the Government is thinking of young people. We are trying to see how best we can have them engaged, therefore, they won't have any time for the negative," said Ennis.
"I would say to young people to make sure that they are educated not only academically but make sure they apply common sense because that is missing a lot," added Ennis.