KINGSTON, Jamaica - The National Youth Service (NYS) has expanded its programme offerings to more effectively meet the needs of the country’s young people.
Chairperson of the NYS Board, Maureen Webber says that a range of products were introduced in 2013/14, targeted at young entrepreneurs, persons with disabilities, and at-risk young people, among others.
Among the new initiatives are the Entrepreneurship Programme, the Enrichment Programme, Access to Higher Education Programme, Graduate Work Experience Programme (GWEP), Empowerment Programme, and the Events Management and Production Programme.
Webber says the introduction of the new programmes came out of concern about the limited retention of NYS’ participants after they had completed their core training and work-experience placements.
“You would take young persons, who would spend nine months to a year attending core programmes, and place them in a library or at an early childhood facility or as a community health aide. At the end of the period that was it; you were not retained by the particular agency,” she laments.
She says the board felt that the youth organisation was not “serving the needs of the broad spectrum of young persons.”
“We have young persons in colleges, what do they need for support? We have young persons with disabilities, who is supporting them? We have persons with at-risk issues, how are we supporting them? So the board made a decision to diversify our programme offerings,” she said.