Grants Pen Young People Receive More IT Training Options
More young people from the Grants Pen community in St. Andrew can now receive Information Technology training at the Stella Maris Foundation, as a result of a grant from the Jamaica National Building Society Foundation (JNBS Foundation).
Saffrey Brown, General Manager of the JNBS Foundation, and Beverley Lopez, Chairman of the Stella Maris Foundation, signed the grant funding agreement this week (July 3). Ms. Brown said that the support will allow the Stella Maris Foundation to train up to 20 percent more community residents in a marketable skill.
“The JN Foundation’s support couldn’t have been timed better,” Mrs. Lopez stated. “We are going through some difficult times now, and we need the help.”
She stated that the Stella Maris Foundation is dependent on a stipend from the collection plate of the Stella Maris Church. She noted that, “we are all aware that in the economy that we are in, this could come under pressure; therefore, I am very heartened by the assistance, and look forward to increased and further participation from JNBS.”
Ms. Brown explained that the funding will ensure that the computer laboratory has the latest equipment and will enable the Stella Maris Foundation to meet and maintain the requisite facilities standards of the National Council on Technical Vocational Education & Training (NCTVET). The lab currently trains 50 to 60 community residents, each year with the assistance the HEART Trust NTA.
“The JNBS Foundation is always looking for effective and impacting organisations to assist,” Ms. Brown said. “We believe that the work the Stella Maris Foundation does is necessary, and brings about real and sustainable change, therefore, we are happy to partner with them.”
She noted that historically the JN Foundation has provided support for youth development through the provision of modern technological tools; and that the Stella Maris Foundation Information Technology programme falls within that sphere.
“The Information Technology programme is creating opportunities and avenues for development and enhancement for young people from Grants Pen and surrounding environs,” Ms. Brown said.
Omar Frith, Manager of the Stella Maris Foundation, said the seven-year-old IT programme, has had far reaching impact on members of the community. To date, the programme has trained approximately 500 students, resulting in some being placed into jobs, while others have started their own small businesses.
Kemar Layton, who attends classes at the Stella Maris Foundation, said he learned a lot since he enrolled four months ago. “I believe we should have more programmes like this in all communities around the island,” he said, disclosing that previously, he had just, “hung out on the corner” in his community.
“I am very happy that we have the Stella Maris Foundation here so we can become engaged in some level of training in data application,” Mr. Layton said.
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