The New Employment Opportunities for Youth (NEO) programme aims to place 2,000 young persons in apprenticeships through a new crowdfunding initiative, using the ISupportJamaica.com platform.
Alicia Glasgow Gentles, executive director of the Multicare Youth Foundation (MYF), the executing agency for NEO which trains and places youth in apprenticeships, said that the apprenticeship programme requires US$26,000 to be raised, to assist with daily transportation and lunch costs for the participants.
“We anticipate that through the provision of skills training and job opportunities, we can reduce youth unemployment,” she said. “The young people who are employed will achieve greater self-confidence, and we can also help reduce crime and violence.”
CLOSING THE GAP
NEO Jamaica aims to train 10,000 youth in self-development overall through this regional initiative. A total of 2,000 of them will be placed in apprenticeship through partnerships with the private and public sectors.
The programme aims to close the gap between the skills of young people and the increasing demand among corporate entities for qualified personnel.
Glasgow noted that businesses are willing to pay a stipend to the participants, but the apprentices are from poor and vulnerable communities and need to assist their families, while participating in the apprenticeship programme.
The apprentices are also taught the LEGS principle – learning, earning, giving and saving. So, part of their stipend will go to a savings plan in their name.
It Has Changed My Life Positively – Graduate
Barrington Bryce, project coordinator for the New Employment Opportunities for Youth (NEO) programme in Jamaica, said that local and overseas donors can contribute to the programme by visiting the ISupportJamaica.com website, a crowdfunding platform, which is an initiative of The Jamaica National Group.
Phillip Lindsay, ISupportJamaica operations officer at The Jamaica National Group, said donating to the initiative via the platform is simple and secure. On the ISupportJamaica.com platform, click on the NEO Jamaica Apprenticeship Programme project, and then click the ‘Fund Project’ button, he stated.
Donations can also be made via credit card through JN Live online banking; by visiting any JN branch or MoneyShop; and through interbank transfers.
“If you care about challenges in Jamaica, you can provide financial support to micro-enterprises and not-for-profit entities, such as NEO Jamaica Apprenticeship Programme, through the platform,” Lindsay informed.
The Multicare Youth Foundation (MYF), the executing agency for NEO which trains and places youth in apprenticeships, is an amalgamation of the MultiCare Foundation, Youth Upliftment Through Employment (YUTE), and Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
Emilio Walker, a graduate of MYF’s existing YUTE programme, said that it has changed his life positively.
“My experience in this programme was extraordinary. It uplifted me by improving my self-esteem, motivating me, and giving me the drive to go on through,” he said.
NEO is led by the Inter-American Development Bank, through the Multilateral Investment Fund and the Labour Market Unit, the International Youth Foundation and its strategic partners.