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Clarendon youth urged to look to job creation

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz last week urged young people to create their own jobs.

“We are talented enough, we are creative enough. The time has come for us to look at staying and working in our communities to build our parishes, and one way of doing that is by creating job opportunities,” Vaz said during the third instalment of the Youth in Business (YIB) launch at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation. In praising the initiative, Vaz encouraged the young graduates to “change their mindset and think outside of the box”, noting that it is customary for graduates to think about where they will find a job after they leave school.

“It has also been a safety net of many that it is better to rely on a job which originates through an investor or business person, rather than take the risk of starting a business. In doing so, we will create prosperity at the local level,” he said.

Talent drive

Damion Young, local economic development officer, said the corporation is on a drive to unearth local talents between the ages of 18 and 35 who are oriented towards economic development.

“We are looking at persons who are bottling honey, involved in hardcore cash-crop farming, who are in processing, creating sauces and all that,” he said, adding that once they have been engaged in the business for three months or longer and their businesses have the potential for expansion and improvement as well as to contribute to the economic development of the parish, they fit the profile.

The programme, which started in 2016, was renewed last year, with 25 young entrepreneurs being trained and given a grant of $150,000 towards capacity building – $100,000 from the corporation and a further $50,000 from Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie as he was impressed with what they were doing. Young said that of the 25 persons who were trained last year, 21 are still engaged in business and doing very well.

“In fact, one of our young persons, Donovan Spence, is increasing his output of baby clothing as that is his line. Another young man, Romeo Mitchell, is also moving on to putting his sauces [on the market] and is also now creating soaps out of his turmeric business, as well as now making charcoal soap,” Young shared.

This year’s partners for the YIB initiative include the HEART Trust/ NTA, through its Vocational Training Division, which will see the young entrepreneurs being trained in entrepreneurship with a Level II certification, the Planning Institute of Jamaica, through its Community Renewal Programme, which will be providing grant funding of $700,000; and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, which they will be training the entrepreneurs in product development.