Kingston, Jamaica – The HEART/National Service and Training Agency Trust (HEART/NSTA Trust) yesterday (July 23, 2020) signed an expanded memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of National Security’s Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment (HOPE) Programme to train and certify more wards and inmates under the “We Transform” Programme, across Jamaica.

Under the Agreement, HEART will collaborate with Ministry of National Security (MNS) and HOPE to develop and implement training and certification programmes for staff, wards, inmates in transition, mentors and volunteers. The Agency will also provide training and assessment in literacy and numeracy for wards and inmates in correctional institutions. “This MOU represents a longstanding series of discussions and activities between the HOPE Programme, DCS HEART/NSTA Trust & MNS to provide core skill training for inmates developing in the them the attitudes and values for young persons as we transition them into the world of work” said Colonel Martin Rickman, National Co-ordinator of the HOPE Programme. “This works very well with the We Transform Programme that was launched a few years ago which has been doing similar things, so it is very fitting that we come together in this manner to formalise and solidify efforts in achieving the overall objectives”.

Managing Director of the HEART/NSTA Trust, Dr Janet Dyer highlighted some of the successes that occurred under the earlier agreement, “it underscores the importance of the overall partnership as we prepare wards/inmates not only for reintegration into society but to add value to themselves and their families. She highlighted an additional benefit under this expanded agreement where HEART will provide for the placement of ex-wards and probationers in the entrepreneurship programme under HEART/NSTA Trust. She explains “these persons could benefit from MSME grants of up to $1M through HEART/NSTA Trust where persons will be able to start their small businesses”.

The Ministry of National Security is looking forward to a successful collaboration for the execution of training, certification and entrepreneurial opportunities being provided under the MoU. In underscoring Dr Dyer’s point on the issue of entrepreneurial starts, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Matthew Samuda said, “we are clear that the economic reality we face in Jamaica create unique challenges for those with convictions”. “So the training and the options and access to entrepreneurial starts is particularly important because it’s the only way that they are going to reintegrate into society in a meaningful way that will give them and their families a sense of pride and will contribute to the nation’s continued growth and success” noted Minister Samuda.

During the fiscal year 2019/2020 some 594 Inmates, Wards and Correctional Officers participated in programmes ranging from Crop Production, Beaded Jewellery Making, Data Operations and Mixology.


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