The Youth Upliftment Through Employment, Y.U.T.E., has been steadily working to rescue and develop some of the nation’s most talented and yet vulnerable youth.
The initiative is co-ordinated by a Jamaican private sector-led coalition, and aims to use a holistic programme designed to empower young people in troubled communities. Y.U.T.E. has been giving steady and strong support to Jamaica’s youth by among other things, improving their employability through mentorship and skills upgrading.
According to programme consultant Melissa Johnson, ,Jamaica’s youth have unlimited and untapped potential and Y.U.T.E. is trying to harness some of it. “Regardless of the communities they come from, our young persons are enormous assets and they have tremendous skills, they’re very resilient, creative and dynamic, and if you can hone them and keep them focused, it’s a valid task”, she explains.
Y.U.T.E. therefore, is working with both males and females to develop attitudes and skills to enable them to become productive and independent citizens, through an aggressive 2 year programmatic approach.
“This is a very critical programme; people who are looking for opportunities. We have people who just want to increase their literacy or numeracy skills, because not all of them are job ready, so the aim is to work with them so they become job ready, or prepared for further certification” explains Maureen Webber, CEO of Development Options Limited.”
Since its birth in 2010, the organization has hosted seminars, workshops and meetings, plus developed comprehensive plans which have started to bear fruit in several inner-city communities as it seeks to provide opportunities for employment through work experience and real jobs in the private sector.
This private sector support is extremely critical, as the assistance is not confined to specific tasks or activities, but ranges from mentoring, to motivational speeches, to anything that assists young people in gaining sharper focus on positive goals.
Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited and Pan Caribbean Financial Services have commiteed to help Y.U.T.E. Being active corporate citizens, both entities have an enviable track record of giving considerable time and resources to projects that assist with nation building. Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited and PanCaribbean in particular remains uniquely focused on children/youth as the foundation for sustainable future development. In that spirit they each donated $250,000 as funding for some of Y.U.T.E’s programmes. Since the youth pay no fees to participate in the programme, these funds went a far way in assisting the training and remuneration of the teachers involved in Y.U.T.E.
” Sagicor has a strong commitment to the nation’s youth so it was an easy decision to partner with a programme like Y.U.T.E.. We hope to explore this partnership further and encourage other corporate entities to support this nation building programme”, said Richard Byles, CEO of Sagicor Life Jamaica.
Y.U.T.E. is currently in phase one of its programme, which is being implemented with over 2000 youth in eight communities. This phase lasts until 2013, and the support is needed to facilitate what has the potential to become a tremendous social revolution in the island.