‘It changed my life’ - Former windshield wiper grateful for skills programme
After wiping windscreens for a living for four months, Genus Thompson decided he wanted something more for his life. So, when friends introduced the 22-year-old to the Windscreen Wiper Intervention Initiative, he jumped at the chance.
The programme, which targets unattached youth who have found work in the informal windscreen wiping industry, focuses on mentorship and exposes them to sessions on civics, conflict management, family life management, and career development.
Last Friday, Thompson was among 14 persons who graduated from the three-week programme, with a certificate of participation.
While some may scoff that it is not a university degree, for Thompson, this course provided him with the necessary skills needed to deal with day-to-day interactions with motorists.
"We learn to manage conflict and how to talk to people and learn about our attitude and dem thing deh. We learn how fi write resumes and application letters and how fi help others fi squash war. Them teach we weh fi seh when wi approach people and dem wine up dem glass, wi nuffi react to that. We must look at it as supm simple and just move on," he told THE STAR.
The programme is a collaborative effort of the HEART Trust/ NTA, the National Service Corps Programme, the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Trainees will continue in a programme at the HEART Trust/NTA, which will help them to matriculate to a skill area of choice.
Since completing the programme, Thompson, who hails from Majesty Gardens in St Andrew, has gotten work as an elevator operator. He said the tactics he was taught in the programme has helped him in this kind of job.
"Mi encounter nuff people since the training but mi nuh mek it trouble mi because mi have a better understanding of life and people. Mi know how fi handle dem. Mi use to wipe glass but mi never in the streets like mi other friends dem. This programme help mi fi become a better me," he said.
He is also encouraging others to get involved in these types of programmes.
"Mi like it, a supm mi would a tell mi other friend dem bout. Everyone fi get involved in a programme like this. It can change yuh life," he said.