In 1973, the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) formed the National Youth Service (NYS) to help with manpower needs in various sectors of the economy as well as to help school leavers develop a sense of nationalism and proper socialisation. According to Mrs. Heather Murray, Principal of the Hampton High School, “In those days, you served without any travelling been refunded because it was serviced for the sake of service and it was from a service that I learned from those whom I served.” Since then, young people, ages 17 – 24 years, have been equipped with the necessary life coping skills needed to foster their personal and career development as well as enhance their contribution to community and national development.
The programmes offered at the NYS focuses on Volunteerism, Character Development and Work Experience and include programmes such as the Corps and Summer Programmes.
THE CHANGING ENVIRONMENT
The change in the global environment has reshaped the strategic framework of the National Youth Service (NYS) and has forced the organisation to fulfill its mandate through various methodologies. In the past, individuals would have completed NYS programmes harvesting only a certificate of participation. However, in an assessment conducted by Darrell M. Hull, Ph.D., he recommended that the NYS Corps programme should be aligned with the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) standards offered by HEART Trust/NTA, and credit provided to participants when their training matches these standards. As such, in 2010, the NYS undertook a new initiative: to certify participants in their area of training in order to enrich their developmental experience and prepare them for the competitive labour market.
Following this decision, at least 290 National Youth Service (NYS) trainees turned the pages of success, in dealing with the weaknesses which exist in the procurement and distribution of textbooks in high, junior high and all-age schools. In 2011, through the Textbook Management and Support Aide programme was developed to train students in assisting with the management of the textbook process in schools. Participants within the programme have helped the Media Services Unit of the Ministry of Education to collect for redistribution some $350 million worth of government-issued textbooks, packed in storerooms in Schools Island wide. In the same year, the organisation commenced training for their Teacher’s Assistant Programme which total of four hundred and twenty eight (428) participants trained to effectively support teachers and administrators in: Special Educational Institutions, The Alternative Secondary Transitional Education Programme Centres (ASTEP) and The E-Learning Centres.