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February 18, 2014
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Flankers youth engage in entrepreneurial symposium

It is no secret that the lottery scam is a problem in many communities in the parish of St James, and Flankers in that parish is often mentioned in disparaging undertones.

Unemployment is a real issue for many Flankers residents. "If you tell them you are from Flanker, no one will hire you," says Alecia Spence, project officer at the Flankers Peace and Justice Centre, who has been working in the community for seven of the 12 years since the centre was established. "However, there are many talented young people here, and many of them are hidden, but if you get them to do something, that is when you see their talent emerge."

It was against that background that the Flankers Peace and Justice Centre recently organised a one-day entrepreneurial symposium. The objective was to educate and inform the more than 100 youngsters about organisations and companies that are able to assist them with launching their entrepreneurial initiatives.

The participants, aged 14 to 22, were exposed to presentations from the HEART Trust/National Training Agency, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Jamaica Constabulary Force, and representatives from JN Small Business Loans Limited.

"I'm really thankful for the symposium," 22-year-old Marvin Barrett said. A trained hospitality worker, Barrett is marginally employed, engaged only during the peak of the tourist season and he has been out of work since January.

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