HEART Trust NTA, HOPE Programme to set up training facility in St. Thomas community

Caribbean Cement Company Limited has donated a block making machine to the HEART Trust National Training Agency (HEART) for use in the HOPE programme. The machine was on Thursday placed in the parish of St. Thomas where the HOPE Programme will lead an initiative to create a training and social enterprise project.

The machine, which is a DongYu Model QT 4-25, was purchased by Carib Cement several years ago at a value of USD10,000. The aim was to contribute to a community development initiative with the right partners and location. Jerome Cowans, CSR Coordinator at Carib Cement approached the HEART Trust NTA with the proposal and it was decided that the HOPE programme would be a good channel. Through further dialogue, including with Member of Parliament Dr Michelle Charles-Freeman,  the community of Lyssons in St Thomas was identified.

“We are pleased to make this donation to the HEART for use in the HOPE programme as there are many advantages to be had for youth in terms of training and sustainable community development,” said Yago Castro, General Manager of Carib Cement.

The community of Lyssons is just outside of Morant Bay, the capital of the parish. The Social Development Commission has identified employment, training and education among development priorities for the area.

This initiative has come at a time when the National Training Agency is ramping up its work in the parish by preparing youth for expected opportunities to be derived from the Morant Bay Urban Centre.

Speaking on behalf of the HEART,  Mr Aston Spencer, Director of Region Two:  “This is a great initiative which will help bring economic benefit to the community. An important component of our operation is partnership and we appreciate this input from Carib Cement which will lead to training and certification opportunities for St Thomas. This will be beneficial to unattached youth within underserved communities.”

The HOPE Programme is a training and apprenticeship initiative for unemployed, undereducated youth between the ages of 18 to 24 years old. Colonel Martin Rickman, National Coordinator of the HOPE Programme said:

“This has good potential in that it will facilitate training in both block making, block laying and entrepreneurship. This is a good example of partnership with and support for the HOPE programme,” Colonel Rickman said.

This is Carib Cement’s second donation of a block making machine, with the first being handed over in February of this year to the Bull Bay community in St. Andrew, which has organised a social enterprise project.

Caption: (L-R) Yago Castro, Dr Michelle Charles-Freeman, Colonel Martin Rickman and Aston Spencer