Innovation centres will provide safe space for young people

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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MINISTER of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green says the ministry plans to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in all the youth innovation centres that are being established across the island.

He said the objective is for these facilities to serve as safe spaces for young people to meet, study, develop business ideas, and access personal development and empowerment services.

He noted that cameras have already been installed at centres in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

“The plan is to ensure that all our centres have that level of security,” Green added.

He was addressing a national youth symposium under the theme 'Safe Spaces for Youth' at Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Monday.

The state minister, earlier this year, announced a partnership with the Organization of American States (OAS) to rebrand the 11 Youth Information Centres (YICs) across the island to focus on fostering entrepreneurship among young people.

He informed that the Westmoreland YIC, which is the first to be converted into an innovation centre, will serve as a model for the other facilities across the island.

“[Westmoreland is] our first innovation centre so they have a full-fledged entrepreneurship programme that is being run in the centre to unleash the next generation of entrepreneurs,” he said.

“Our plan is, throughout all our centres, one thing that will be standard is that young people who have ideas in their community and they are looking somewhere to go for guidance, somewhere to go to transform an idea into a business plan, they can go to these safe [and] sustainable spaces,” he outlined.

Green said he hopes to see many of the ideas generated being manifested into sustainable business initiatives which young people own and operate.

YICs provide free access to the Internet and serve as a focal point for the dissemination of information on youth issues and programmes, including educational training opportunities.

The conversion of these facilities into innovation centres will involve putting in additional personnel, such as individuals with business training and human resource skills, and relevant equipment.

They are located at Lot 190 Llandilo Road, Westmoreland; Edgewater Roundabout, St Catherine; Emmanuel Baptist Church, 5 Hodgson Street, St Mary; 1 Humber Avenue, St James; Marcus Garvey Skills Training Centre, Owen Sound Drive, St Ann; Wint Road in Brooks Park, Manchester; Watson Taylor Park, Hanover; 7-9 Trenton Road, Clarendon; 2A West Palm Avenue, Portland; Santa Cruz Community Centre, St Elizabeth; and Old Police Station, Corners of French and Wellington Streets, St Catherine.

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