Mon | Nov 18, 2019

New JDF advertisement pulls thousands

Published:Tuesday | March 19, 2019 | 12:18 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) new advertising campaign, which is geared at recruiting as many young persons as possible, is receiving overwhelming support from its target group.

The advertisement running on television and across multiple social media platforms represents the new face of the JDF in terms of engagement through its Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) programme.

Speaking at a Gleaner Editors’ Forum last week, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, chief of defence staff, said parts of Jamaica were less responsive, and so the advertisement was designed to reach those areas.

“For the first in a long time we decided to do the advertisement, that we put on at prime time, which is available to let the youngsters know that we are recruiting. We are interested in helping them, and this is not just for youngsters who want to be soldiers as a long- term career. The programme is designed to just engage youngsters for a year. Then they can go off to university or to some other job if they wish,” said Meade.

The JDF also does recruiting through its website and visits communities for targeted recruitment. Meade said the take-up has been tremendous.

“In order to do the increased operations on the road, I need more people. By bringing in more of the youngsters, they help to build our numbers, so I can help the police, but they also help me to build out the restructuring of the force in terms of having people permanently located in all areas of Jamaica,” said Meade.

His ultimate aim is to have every youngster leaving secondary school get some experience of what the programme is trying to offer.

“We get more than we can engage, so we are now doing 500 per intake.

“We used to do 250 per year up to three years ago. Immediately in 2017, I went up to 250 per quarter, so we have moved it four times to 1,000 per year. And since late last year, we are now up to a 500 per quarter, so we are targeting 2,000 for this year,” said Meade.

The JNSC programme has benefited close to 1,600 young persons since its inception in 2017. Basic training last for 17 weeks and the programme runs for one year.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com