Jamaica News: The Government has reiterated its commitment to securing training and certification of inmates through the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) involving the Ministry of National Security, HOPE Programme and the HEART/NSTA Trust.
Managing Director of the HEART/NSTA Trust, Dr. Janet Dyer, told JIS News that the partnership aims to ensure that inmates are trained and certified before they are reintegrated into society.
“We do literacy and numeracy for those persons who need it, as well as skills training for those persons who require the skills training component. We have also added a new component now to the partnership with the Ministry of National Security, where there is an MSME programme in HEART where we teach entrepreneurial skills and at the end of that programme, the students can apply for an entrepreneurial grant to start their small business,” Dr. Dyer said.
She added that inmates can also benefit from the agency’s Entrepreneurship Programme, which features a grant valued at $1 million, provided along with the agency’s support in moving the recipient’s business forward.
“It is geared towards all young Jamaicans, but we have now opened up the opportunity to the inmates who are out there. So, once you get the training and you are being reintegrated into society, you can apply for this grant and we will go through with that person. once they qualify, and allow them that grant. The good thing about that grant is once persons qualify, there is a handholding period of 24 months where the organisation monitors, walks through with persons to ensure that after 24 months the business becomes viable,” Dr. Dyer added.
This MOU represents the continuation of a similar agreement signed in 2018, from which 217 persons – a combination of inmates and correctional officers – successfully completed training in Customised Beaded Jewellery Making, Vegetable Crop Production, Data Operations, and the Literacy Programme.
Persons benefiting from the programme in that year were from Tamarind Farm, the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, Fort Augustus and the St. Catherine Correctional Centre.
Source: JIS News