NYS reaping success in St Mary
Orantes Moore, Gleaner Writer
Highgate, St Mary:
Over the last two months, the National Youth Service (NYS) in St Mary has been targeting young people through a series of initiatives, including two youth forums, voluntary and entrepreneurial projects, and a seminar focusing on the benefits of the proposed logistics hub.
According to director of the School of Advanced Skills at the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Osric Forrest, the development of a logistics hub could create numerous employment opportunities, but only for those with the relevant training and skills.
Speaking after delivering a logistics seminar to dozens of young people at St Mary High School in Highgate, Forrest told The Gleaner: "Understanding the concept of the logistics hub is critical because we are in an economic condition that is driven by global activities, and we want to make sure Jamaicans are informed, educated, aware of global trends, economic development, and the role they have to play."
He believes young Jamaicans should prepare themselves for the hub's launch and encouraged them to think outside of the box when it comes to career planning.
WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES
Forrest said: "Young people have to move to where the jobs are, be informed about the skills that are needed, and become enlightened about the opportunities that will be created.
"Use the global space, which we call the Internet and social networks, to do your own research. This will create opportunities for you to see what is happening in other countries so you can educate yourself," he added.
"The future looks great for young people. Once they get certified skills and think global, they can move anywhere in the world, regardless of whether they are farmers or astronauts.
"The Jamaican brand is great, so once you are clean, have the skills, and mention Jamaica, it's automatic employment."
Davian Bennett, a 19-year-old St Mary High School past student, was clearly inspired by Forrest's advice and described the seminar as "interesting and beneficial".
He said: "I want to be a firefighter and the CMI has a course that can give me the skills necessary for that profession. I learned a lot today because I didn't know the CMI was associated with firefighting, but now I know that if I train with them, it will be easier for me to get a job."
His comments were echoed by 18-year-old Yanique Brown, Students' Council president at Annotto Bay High School, who said: "I'm interested in a career in logistics after I leave school and wanted a summary of what it is all about. The seminar was good because I learned the essence of logistics, the importance of skills in terms of global development, and that people should try not to limit themselves."
Regional field officer for the NYS in St Mary, Sharleen Clarke, added: "The CMI seminar was great because we had over 100 people, and normally, there are very few males, but almost half of those who attended were males. Everybody who came will receive a certificate of participation and around 60 per cent have already approached me about how they can receive a certificate of training, which goes to show they are very interested."
Clarke, a former high-school teacher, also called for more projects designed to prepare young people for the workplace.
She said: "In March, we did the community-reasoning sessions that we dub 'Express Yuhself', with 183 young people aged 17 to 24-years-old at St Mary High and Annotto Bay High schools. That forum explores the issues young people face and how the NYS can help empower them. You would think the biggest problem would be employment, but their main issue is a lack of resources: Internet access, finances, and even facilities at their schools. They are between a rock and a hard place because they don't have the resources to continue on to higher education, and quite frankly, a lot of them don't know where to go. We have to find ways to help and inform them how to tap into the resources that are at their fingertips."