Senator wants NYS expanded; lobbies for new-age training for rural youth | Main stories

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Senator Natalie Campbell Rodriques, Senator Natalie Campbell Rodriques, has called for the National Youth Service (NYS) to be revamped to include people between the ages of 21 and 28.

This, she said, would allow the agency to provide more opportunities for young people and cut out the “work the devil finds for idle hands”.

The Senator also recommended that skills such as hairdressing, tailoring, bartending and masonry be removed from primary courses offered by the HEART Trust/NSTA to young people from rural and poor communities, and that new age skills such as coding and robotics are included.

The creation of a national mentoring program for young people in 6th grade is also part of his proposals.

“If we address youth development issues, it will go a long way toward reducing the levels of everyday violence and disorder dramatically,” Campbell Rodriques said during his State of the Nation debate in the Senate last Friday.

Insinuating that youth development is viewed in a “symbolic” and “social welfare” way, the senator stressed that more needs to be done to improve access.

She hailed the implementation of the controversial Sixth Form Pathways program, which came into effect this month, as “a good first step”.

However, she acknowledged that more work was needed.

Campbell Rodriques proposed that the agency provide five pathways in which people could enroll and become productive.

The areas were IT, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence; military and police; sports, sports health and sports recruitment; entertainment and entertainment management; and plumbing and electrical work.

At the same time, she called on training organizations to expand the offerings available to young people, including modern and emerging industries.

“We need to help our young people dream big and know they can achieve and be so much more,” the senator said. “Let’s not limit our young people because of their origin in Jamaica.”

The senator said the mentorship program would focus particularly on men, including fathers and absentee fathers who are not good at parenting.

“We see the fallout in the statistics and must act urgently to prevent the situation from getting worse,” she said.

Under the program, participants would be assigned mentors for the duration or be allowed to find their own mentors.

Mentors would be selected and trained accordingly.

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