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Supporting youth empowerment through private sector investment

 

An IDB team comprised of Mr. Hans Schulz, Vice President for the Private Sector, Mr. Stefan Wright, Lead Investment Officer, Structured & Corporate Finance Department, Mr. Wayne Beecher, MIF Senior Specialist and Mrs. Cynthia Hobbs, Education Senior Specialist visited the Marriott Courtyard Kingston project site last week Tuesday, June 24, 2014.  The purpose of the visit was to view the construction of the hotel in progress and also to visit with the five Youth-At-Risk that are conducting their six-month internship as part of the Shared Value Appraisal.

While we were very impressed with the progress being made by Prime Construction the main contractors, we were even more satisfied with the performance of the interns supplied through the Citizen Security & Justice Programme.  It was rewarding to hear directly from Mr. Keefa Harris, one of the  youth in the program, who has been given this unique opportunity by the contractor to learn construction skills on an actual construction site. He remarked, “ I have learnt a lot more here about steel work and other jobs than I did previously, because this is a real working environment and my supervisor takes a lot of interest in me”.  His supervisor Mr. Chester Campbell, was also glowing in his comments of Mr. Harris and the other interns.  “They have all done very well, and I will definitely be taking them to my next construction job”, he said.  This is some endorsement for persons who had little or no formal work experience particularly in construction, prior to starting their internship three months ago.

Mr. Schulz also used the opportunity to tell Mr. Harris, how proud we all were of him and the other interns and that he expected him to continue to do well.

As team leader for this project, perhaps the most satisfying of all was to hear the response of Mr. Harris to the question, how has this internship impacted your life?  His response was, “I feel like a man now”.

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