#KINGSTON, February 13, 2020 (JIS): Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is to expand the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, in partnership with the private sector.
“I will be meeting with members of the private sector on February 14 to see how they can come on board, to create opportunities for employment and engagement for young people, where the Government will provide the training and the supervision,” Mr. Holness said.
“If the private sector could help us with the stipend and the opportunities and the areas of work, they get the benefit of the labour, while the persons who are under the programme, they [would] get the benefit of the training. So, we are going to engage the private sector to expand the programme,” he added.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a HOPE Volunteer Project event, held at Jamaica House on February 13.
Launched in May 2017, the HOPE Programme provides educational and job opportunities for young people. The initiative is targeted at persons aged 18 to 24 who are not employed or enrolled in a school or programme of training.
So far, more than 20,000 persons have been trained through the HOPE Programme.
“If the private sector truly comes on board… who knows, maybe in the first year we could add 2,000 to 3,000 more [young people] and as it goes along, between private sector and government, we could possibly be engaging, on a yearly basis, 50,000 youngsters. That would truly put a dent on this whole business of being an unattached youngster,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, he informed that the Government is now moving to build out the volunteer aspect of the programme.
Some five recipients of the Jamaica Labour Party National Scholarship will be completing 200 hours of volunteer work per year for the duration of their studies. The volunteer work will be facilitated through the HOPE Volunteer Project.
The five scholarship recipients are Daniel Meggo; Sebastian Lawrence; Nile Anderson; Raimona Gowie-Roberts; and Demar Brown.
“There is always potential for volunteering, and volunteering is such a powerful way of not just giving back or paying it forward, but it is a powerful way of learning yourself, of developing your own character and personality by giving service,” the Prime Minister said.
For his part, National Coordinator of the HOPE Programme, Lt. Col. Martin Rickman, said the objective of the HOPE Volunteer Project is to build out a cadre of young persons across the country who are more engaged in nation-building activities through their involvement in volunteerism.
He informed that the scholarship recipients will be working in various agencies across government.
“This volunteerism also provides the participants with real work experiences that can aid in their own professional development whilst you are learning the basic of skills and learning what you are doing at your various institutions of learning,” Lt. Col. Rickman said.
“The goal is to engage youth in nation-building through their participation in voluntary services, which will foster a lot more positive attitude and values towards the nation’s development and the creation of an educated population of youth across Jamaica. This particular programme is for approximately four months’ duration to achieve 200 hours of voluntary service,” he added.
Meanwhile, participant in the volunteer programme and scholarship recipient, Sebastian Lawrence, said that through volunteerism, he hopes to aid in poverty alleviation and help in the propagation of environmental consciousness.
JIS PRESS RELEASE