Tue | Sep 26, 2023

Adolescent mothers get career guidance

Published:Wednesday | March 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Joylene Griffiths Irving (left), executive director, Scotia Foundation, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry talk to some girls from the Young Women’s Christian Association at The Girls Empowered for Motherhood and Success (GEMS) Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre last Tuesday.

Adolescent mothers from the Women's Centre Foundation (WCF) were exposed to a session on career development through a partnership between the Scotia Foundation and Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ) at the third staging of the Girls Empowered for Motherhood and Success (GEM) Conference.

The conference was held on International Women's Day at the Jamaica Conference Centre. The session conducted by Yanique Taylor, director of programmes at JAJ, focused on career success and included areas such as critical thinking and creativity, communications and conflict management and collaboration, work priorities and soft skills.

?Career Success is a course developed by JAJ that equips students with tools and skills to earn and keep a job in high-growth career industries. We see the opportunity to give the girls good career advice in preparation for the work world,? Taylor said.


Great risk


"Each pregnancy brings great risks to a girl. Very often it forces her to leave school, and without an education, a girl lacks the skills to find a job and build a future for herself and her family and contribute to her nation's development," she added.

Jamaica's teen pregnancy rate is the fourth-highest in the region despite gains in lowering the fertility rate among the demographic, according to the 2013 State of the World Population Report which highlighted girls who became mothers before their 18th birthday.

With a birth rate of 72 per 1,000 adolescent girls, Jamaica lags only behind Belize, 90; Guyana, 97; and the Dominica Republic that, with a rate of 98 per 1,000 teens, is the highest in the region. Rounding off the top five is St Vincent and the Grenadines with a rate of 70.

The WCF has been in operation since 1978 and assists pregnant teens under the age of 17 to continue their education. This programme focuses on continuing education, counselling, contraceptives education and support from the Ministry of Education for reintegration into the formal school system.