Jamaica News: Thirty-two young persons from inner-city communities in Central and Western Jamaica have been trained and certified in event production, under a partnership between the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and M-Academy.
They were presented with their certificates at a graduation ceremony, held on Monday (December 16), at Grandiosa Hotel, Montego Bay, St. James.
The participants, drawn from violence-prone communities in St. Ann, Clarendon, St. James and Westmoreland, took part in an intensive 35-day training course, which focused mainly on the technical elements of event production, namely audio, video, lighting and staging.
The programme received a $21-million grant from JSIF, through its Integrated Community Development Project, geared at equipping Jamaicans with alternative livelihood skills development and training in event production.
Speaking at the ceremony, Social Services Manager at JSIF, Gresford Bennett, described the programme as a tool of empowerment for the 32 graduates, noting that certification can immediately take the participants into contractual, freelance or permanent employment.
“The skill for us is not the result we (JSIF) seek. The skill itself is just a tool of social upliftment for you to actually reach the place that you would like to be. For you to be able to care for your babies, for you to fix up the house, for you to buy a car like anybody else and for you to pay your bills,” he told the graduates.
For his part, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Main Event Entertainment Group Limited, developer of M-Academy, Solomon Sharpe, urged the graduates to capitalise on their training, as there is a huge demand for personnel in event production.
“I want you guys (graduates) to understand that this opportunity that you are getting is real. This is not one of those other training sessions. My job was to provide an opportunity for others out there like you,” he told the graduates.
Mr. Sharpe said with the continued growth in the hotel room stock in St. James and other western parishes, the industry is ripe with opportunities, in particular the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) market within the tourism sector.
“The rooms that are being built are not for the traditional tourist. Tourism is now focused on groups that are now coming here for events, who are coming here for weddings, who are coming here for anniversaries. So, you have what is called the MICE market,” he noted.
In his remarks, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, said the training progromme as timely, noting that western Jamaica is poised for exponential growth in the tourism sector, which will see a demand for workers in event production and entertainment.
“I charge you graduates to leave this training programme with your eyes fixed on making a meaningful contribution to the entertainment and event management sector. It is an evolving industry,” he said.
Some 106 young people from 18 inner-city communities across Jamaica have now benefited from the event production skills training programme since the start of the initiative in April 2019.
Source: JIS News