Mon | Jun 24, 2019

HOPE beneficiary lauds 'life-changing' programme

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2019 | 3:14 PM
Devon Thompson at work during his internship

A beneficiary of the government’s Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme has lauded the initiative as an excellent way of giving underprivileged young people a second chance at success.

Devon Thompson ended his HOPE internship at Jamaica Mortgage Bank (JMB) last year and describes the experience as life-changing.

“I think the HOPE Programme is a good move by the Government because it’s a second chance for youth out there who have dropped out of school early, either through pregnancy or violence. They get the chance to learn a skill to better themselves in the society,” he said in an interview with JIS News.

The HOPE Programme is a training and apprenticeship initiative that provides an avenue for the development of unattached youths between 18 and 24 years old.

It was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during his contribution to the 2017-2018 Budget Debate.

Thompson said through the programme he got first-hand experience of the high level of professionalism that goes into the operations of government agencies.

“While serving my internship, I learned and came to appreciate that professionalism should be reflected in all aspects of the workplace, from dress code to proper usage of grammar, especially when interacting with the employees and customers,” he said.

“I also learned how to properly document, store and dispose of files and how to create a good résumé and job application letter,” he added.

Thompson said he learned about the HOPE programme through a text message from a friend who encouraged him to apply.

“I was particularly interested in the programme because it was offering a free course in documentation, and I thought it would be beneficial in developing my professional skill set,” he explained.

Under the HOPE programme, participants are required to participate in mandatory core training, inclusive of life skills, good citizenship, work ethics, discipline, volunteerism and entrepreneurship skills.

Following that, they are engaged in specific skills training and serve as an apprentice, where they will be allowed to work in that skill area for a stipend with a savings component.

“Through participating in the programme, I was able to develop better interpersonal and problem-solving skills, self-reliance, and I now have higher self-esteem,” Thompson said.

The 22-year-old says that after completing the programme, his hope is to pursue a degree in sales and marketing at the University of the West Indies Mona Campus, starting in September.

“My biggest motivation is my mom and brother. They are my biggest source of inspiration and my strongest supporters as well. When I see my mom working so hard to keep me and my smaller brother happy through the death of our father, it gives me the drive as the eldest to push for success, so I can help to make life more comfortable for all of us,” he said.

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