Gov’t launches new LIFT programme targeting 500 school leavers yearly Loop Jamaica

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The Government on Wednesday launched the Learning and Investment for Transformation (LIFT) Programme under which some 2,500 youth will have access to professional training and job placement over a five-year period.

A total of 500 young people fresh out of fifth and sixth form with financial needs and aged 17 years and older, are to be targeted each year for five years.

Persons living with disabilities will also be targeted under the programme being dubbed a “comprehensive” initiative to “professionalise” the nation’s youth ahead of job placement.

The programme, which is a collaborative one between the Ministry of Education and Youth and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) through HEART/NSTA Trust, was launched at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing.

The participants are to undergo a rigorous recruitment process that is to involve diagnostic testing to determine, among other things, their preferred career choices to best place them in jobs.

Then in September, there is to be a rigorous orientation process, which will include outlining the requirements for work in a public and/or private sector organisation, as well as enhancing their employability skills and training in financial and digital literacy.

The participants will then move on to the engagement period of eight weeks, during which they will receive additional skills and employability training.

Fayval Williams (file photo)

They will also receive assistance in attaining their social mobility documents, such as a tax registration number (TRN) and a bank account, during that period.

Interestingly, the participants will, at that stage of the programme, be introduced to a driver education programme, and be provided with a provisional driver’s licence, to facilitate them eventually receiving their official driver’s licence.

Thereafter, the participants will be employed for a year at a specific Government ministry, department or agency (MDA), or a private sector entity.

“So, essentially, we are preparing 2,500 school leavers across five years, equipping our ministries, departments and agencies and our private sector entities with young people who are Monday morning ready,” declared Dr Tanesha Ingleton, the Managing Director of HEART/NSTA Trust.

Dr Tanesha Ingleton (file photo)

Minister without Portfolio in the OPM, Dr Dana Morris Dixon, who has responsibility for skills and digital transformation, said some of the nominees will come from each of the 63 constituencies nationally.

“So essentially, we won’t leave anybody behind, and that’s critical, because the Administration is very much committed to this notion that, ‘No young person is going to be left behind’, and so, when you have a quota from every single constituency, it means every single child can be reached,” theorised Morris Dixon.

Application forms will be available at each constituency office, while persons can apply online via the HEART/NSTA Trust’s website.

Application for the LIFT programme opens on August 10.

For her part, Education and Youth Minister, Fayval Williams, said the programme is aimed at “improving the social mobility of 500 school leavers, especially those who graduate from the Sixth Form Pathway Programme annually over a five year period.”

Added Williams regarding the programme: “It also looks to foster participants’ adjustment to adulthood in a systematic way towards employment to becoming productive citizens, and I know for all of us as Members of Parliament in our respective constituencies, there are many young persons there who would love to take advantage of this opportunity, and indeed it is here for such a purpose.”

Meanwhile, Ingleton said each participant will receive $85,000 monthly, of which “$70,000 will be received in hand, and $15,000 will be placed in their bank accounts that they will not be able to access until they complete the programme.”

She said this is important because young persons will be taught about the importance of saving.

In order to apply for the LIFT programme, persons must have two character references and three Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects, which must include mathematics and English language.

Applicants must be aged 17 years and older, with a high school leaving certificate.

“You must have graduated high school within the last year in the case of fifth form graduates, or the last two years in the case of sixth form graduates,” Ingleton informed.

In addition, applicants must demonstrate a financial need.

“We want to ensure that our most vulnerable – the individuals who need it the most – are the ones who get the opportunity to participate,” said Ingleton.