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HEART reaching more youth with on-the-spot skills certification

Published:Tuesday | November 12, 2019 | 12:00 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Through its mobile learning and assessment unit, the HEART Trust/NTA has been providing on-the-spot assessment and certification of youth with various skills.

Certification is offered in customer service, make-up artistry, bartending, painting, tiling, masonry, plumbing, and electrical wiring, among other areas.

Education State Minister Alando Terrelonge said that the mobile learning and assessment unit is one of the means by which the National Youth Policy 2017-2030 is being implemented.

Education and training is listed as number one in the policy’s priority areas, with the goal of improving access to vocational training, and quality secondary and tertiary education.

“On a practical day-to-day level, ordinary Jamaican youth are being trained by HEART through CAP (Career Advancement Programme), through our TAP (Technology Advancement Programme). We have literally started a series of projects to engage thousands of Jamaican youth,” he told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum at the newspaper’s central Kingston head offices last Friday.

Terrelonge added that youth empowerment officers who have been dispatched across the island are integral to the process as they engage the youngsters and notify the ministry of the skill sets present in communities and the need for certification.

According to the state minister, approximately 200 youth were certified when the mobile unit made a visit to Port Antonio in Portland a few months ago.

“The idea is that you’re a barber or a hairdresser, but you don’t have the certification ... . People are still coming to you because they know that you have the skill set, so you bring two youth from the community, bring your tools, and we watch you and we grade you and we certify you as a skilled barber on the spot – same thing for the hairdresser,” Terrelonge explained, adding that it requires a minimum of one year’s experience to qualify.