YUTE Lens Support to inner-city youth
On Friday, eMedia Interactive Limited and the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE) officially launched YUTE Lens Support.
The launch was held at the University of Technology's Technology Innovation Centre (ITC).
Led by eMedia CEO, Tyrone Wilson, the 10-week programme is partly funded by the Australian High Commission's Direct Aid programme and will offer training in different aspects of film.
The programme will benefit more than 40 'at-risk' youth between the ages of 18 and 29 living in areas considered volatile. At the end of the training period, the programme organisers will secure an internship for its participants, which could eventually lead to full-time employment.
Charlene Brooks, community engagement officer for YUTE, told The Gleaner her organisation was keen on ensuring that participants were well developed.
"We want to see them through the process, so we're not necessarily taking on new participants. We extended the projects, gave them the information, the application and decided where best would suit them," she said.
Brooks also revealed that YUTE services over 13 communities including Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town, Waterhouse and Trench Town and is hoping to expand in the near future.
"What we look at is the vulnerability factor in these communities, how at-risk the young people are, and we take it from there."
According to Brooks, YUTE has plans of widening its scope, though funding is a major limitation.
"YUTE survives on funding, and expansion comes with money, so we're taking it slow and are focusing on being very impactful so that each participant gets what they should from the programme."
Although still in its early stages, organisers are certain of the direction in which they want to go. Wilson told The Gleaner that the programme chose to focus on film because it still remains non-traditional, despite its immense potential.
"I think there's a lot of opportunity in our film industry that we're not tapping into, so we just wanted to ensure that young people see the opportunity and will put their effort into things that can fuel development and provide good economic returns."
eMedia Interactive, the producers of iVuTV, has employed youth both in front of and behind the camera through its TV series Squaddy, which airs on FLOW 100.
In her address to the gathering at the launch, Marjory Kennedy, Honorary Consul of Australia to Jamaica, said the partnership with eMedia has been successful thus far, and said the Australian High Commission was proud of the achievements of all the youth in the programme.
She also said that the Australian Government was happy to continue its association with YUTE and with helping to reduce unemployment in Jamaica.