Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Growth & Jobs | CMA expands skills training opportunities for the youth

Published:Tuesday | October 26, 2021 | 12:07 AM
President of the Caribbean Military Academy, Brigadier Radgh Mason.
President of the Caribbean Military Academy, Brigadier Radgh Mason.

PRESIDENT OF the Caribbean Military Academy (CMA), Brigadier Radgh Mason, says the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) continues to strengthen its comprehensive youth engagement programme aimed at impacting unattached young men and women across the island.

The initiative is in collaboration with the HEART/NSTA Trust and the Ministry of National Security. The CMA is the academic institutional arm of the JDF.

Brigadier Mason was speaking recently during a visit by business leaders to CMA Montego Bay in Flankers, where at-risk young men from vulnerable communities in the parish are being trained to operate trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.

He noted that the programme, which focuses largely on skills training, has been working in tandem with its flagship Jamaica National Service Corps to help prevent youth involvement in crime and violence by facilitating behaviour change.

“We have been bolstering support to other vocational, technical engineering-type training… [We have] our flagship programme, the Jamaica National Service Corps, which engages a lot of our unattached youth throughout the country… and we also are completing the facility in Montpelier (St James), where we will be engaging a number of youth as well,” he said.

“It is not lost on anybody… that the country faces a particular challenge. In addition to the pandemic, we face a challenge of crime and violence, perpetuated largely by our youth, who are both victims and perpetrators,” Brigadier Mason said.

He noted that there will be an overhaul of CMA Montego Bay, which houses the Cornwall Automotive Training Institute and the Caribbean Military Technical Training Institute, in a bid to expand skills training offerings at the institution.

“I may have neglected to mention the automotive training department, where, again, youngsters are trained in different kinds of automotive skills. We intend to complete the overhaul of this facility to bring back a number of these skilled areas in due course, and continue to be in partnership with the HEART/NSTA Trust and the Ministry of National Security,” Brigadier Mason shared.

He further noted that the JDF is also engaging unattached youth in vulnerable communities across the island through its recently launched music intervention programme.

“The Ministry of National Security has also engaged us in our music intervention programme by providing musical instruments … to unattached youth throughout the communities. So we do have a cohort of young people that we are engaging through music,” the CMA president said.

“It is a part of a comprehensive programme, and very soon we are going to make this much stronger and wide-reaching,” he continued.

Brigadier Mason added that while there is no “silver bullet” to solving the country’s crime problem, effectively engaging young people is Jamaica’s best bet.

“The solution to our issues of crime and violence is effectively engaging youth, or young people, to provide them with additional opportunities, in addition to all the other areas of law enforcement,” he said.