Fi Wi Jamaica: part­ner­ing for youth em­pow­er­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - YL -

FI WI Jamaica, a USAID­funded project of the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Jamaica, in part­ner­ship with the Avas­ant Foun­da­tion, is proud of the suc­cess­ful ex­e­cu­tion and com­ple­tion of a pro­gramme geared to­wards youth train­ing and em­ploy­ment. At the end of a four­month pro­gramme, those en­rolled re­ceived train­ing in cus­tomer ser­vice, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, work­place pro­fes­sion­al­ism and ba­sic tech­nol­ogy. They not only gained tan­gi­ble skills but also im­proved their self-con­fi­dence and an un­der­stand­ing of how the con­tact cen­tre in­dus­try works and the process of ap­ply­ing for jobs. Af­ter pass­ing the pro­gramme’s tests and grad­u­at­ing, the Avas­ant Foun­da­tion ar­ranged for them to in­ter­view at lo­cal ICT/BPO com­pa­nies.

For all the train­ing pro­vided through­out the col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­gramme, in­dus­try ex­pert train­ers were brought in from part­ner em­ploy­ers. The co­horts were trained by an av­er­age of six train­ers from Xerox for all four weeks. The stu­dents also did site vis­its to iTel BPO and HGS, which added to their learn­ing, to ex­pe­ri­ence the work­ings of a con­tact cen­tre.

Project Di­rec­tor Pro­fes­sor Ros­alea Hamil­ton is of the view that the in­ter­ven­tion has been trans­for­ma­tive. She noted, “In the eval­u­a­tion of the pro­gramme, stu­dents have in­di­cated that the pro­gramme has built their self­con­fi­dence, taught them time man­age­ment, team­work and civic re­spon­si­bil­ity, and em­pow­ered them to be bet­ter per­sons.”

On Satur­day, Septem­ber 3, the part­ners proudly cel­e­brated the fourth and fi­nal grad­u­a­tion re­lated to the Dig­i­tal Youth Em­ploy­ment Ini­tia­tive, which has trained a to­tal of 123 youth in Kingston and Mon­tego Bay. The keynote speaker, Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Ruel Reid, lauded the ini­tia­tive and en­cour­aged the grad­u­ates to cap­i­talise on the op­por­tu­ni­ties and pos­si­bil­i­ties to which they now have ac­cess. The grad­u­ates re­ceived for­mal cer­tifi­cates and three stand­out stu­dents were nom­i­nated by their peers to re­ceive spe­cial awards (Top Per­former, Most Im­proved and Best Team Player).

More than half of the grad­u­ates are al­ready em­ployed among in­dus­try part­ners, in­clud­ing iTELBPO So­lu­tions, HGS, XEROX, Sco­tia­bank, Tri­tel, IBEX, 24-7 In Touch, and BPIAJ. The rest are in the in­ter­view­ing and on­board­ing process.

Fi Wi Jamaica is a na­tional so­cial­in­ter­ven­tion group seek­ing to ex­pand a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity for the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of hu­man rights of tar­geted, so­cially ex­cluded and vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the Ja­maican pop­u­la­tion. It has the over­ar­ch­ing goal of em­pow­er­ing mem­bers of so­cially ex­cluded and vul­ner­a­ble groups through so­cial, cul­tural and eco­nomic in­ter­ven­tions that strengthen pub­lic de­mand and ad­vo­cacy for their re­spect, dig­nity, and free­dom from dis­crim­i­na­tion and vi­o­lence. The project also has a man­date to cre­ate a pub­lice­d­u­ca­tion cam­paign. Through work­shops, a com­po­nent of this cam­paign will fo­cus on tolerance, democ­racy, civic re­spon­si­bil­ity, par­tic­i­pa­tory gov­er­nance and ad­vo­cacy.

One of Fi Wi Jamaica’s up­com­ing ac­tiv­i­ties is #BIGUPJAMAICA Day. The project is en­cour­ag­ing Ja­maicans at home and abroad to tweet pos­i­tively about Jamaica and Ja­maicans on October 17, us­ing the hash­tag #BIGUPJAMAICA.

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