Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Growth & Jobs | Jamaicans to benefit from digital skills programme

Published:Tuesday | August 3, 2021 | 12:06 AM
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams (seated right) and Country Representative for Microsoft, Yamile Bustamante (seated left), sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a five-year Digital Skills Programme, at the Ministry’s Na
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams (seated right) and Country Representative for Microsoft, Yamile Bustamante (seated left), sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a five-year Digital Skills Programme, at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston last Tuesday. Observing in the background (from left) are: Marketing Manager for Microsoft, Latoya Duffus; Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Grace McLean; and Senior Education Officer, Meloney Rhynie.

Over 150,000 Jamaicans are to benefit from a five-year digital skills programme being undertaken by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Microsoft.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the partnership was signed on July 27 at the ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston.

The objective is to equip persons with the digital skills needed to fill in-demand jobs.

Portfolio Minister, Fayval Williams, said that approximately 31,000 persons will be trained each year up to 2026, gaining valuable skills to participate in a digital future.

She said that more than 62 trainers would be equipped with the necessary knowledge to impart training to the participants.

“The aim is to have these persons trained in one or more of the four courses offered, based on their level of learning. There is no age limit, and there will be no barriers to entry,” she noted.

The education minister said that the programme, which will improve the employment prospects of the beneficiaries, “is most welcome” as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taught valuable lessons about the benefits of a digitised society.

“We commend Microsoft Jamaica for this very important outreach, which they are funding, and the importance of this initiative cannot be overstated,” she said, noting that the digital economy has created new opportunities in many areas.

Country Representative for Microsoft, Yamile Bustamante, explained that the global training programme is in response to the challenges created by the pandemic, including job loss.

She said that some of these jobs would return in different forms as companies transform and rebound, and persons would have to be trained to fill those positions.

As such, she said that Microsoft has taken an “active role” through its digital skills programme in partnering with countries around the world to close the digital gaps.

“Through this initiative, we seek to bring digital platforms close to people from all ages and different backgrounds so that they can gain new technological knowledge,” she noted.