Employment training opportunities needed in Blenheim

January 30, 2018
Christine Hooper-Johnson
A section of Blenheim.

Christine Hooper-Johnson, president of the Cacoon Community Development Committee in Hanover, wants the parish's government agencies, including the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), to step up plans for employment training opportunities in Blenheim and surrounding communities.

Hooper-Johnson told the WESTERN STAR that her committee has invited RADA to come and outline job opportunities in agriculture for young people, as the area served by the committee includes several farming districts.

"I have written letters to RADA, and RADA is to come and talk to us because we want to do something to keep the young people occupied. We suggested doing fruit juices, because we have a lot of mangoes, plantains, sorrel, and pineapples," she said. "But we were told it would be better to dry our fruits because those have a longer shelf life, so now we are waiting for RADA to come and tell us what is better for us."

She said the HEART Trust/NTA and the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning were also invited to speak with the young people to see how to make them more marketable.

"If they are marketable, they can get jobs," she said. One reason given for the area's lack of job opportunities is that many young people drop out of school and do not have the necessary qualifications for the work force.

Another factor is the current rundown state of the Blenheim community centre, which was built in 2000 to serve as a training centre for residents. The building has been closed since its construction was completed.

"We spoke with an officer from the Social Development Commission about the community centre, and he said that they are about to restore the building. I hope it happens soon so we can have the youths doing something positive," said Hooper-Johnson.

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