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Y.O.U opens career development centre

Students in attandance at a Y.O.U job fair.

It's early days yet, but Dahlia Beckford, new co-ordinator of the career development centre at Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U) in Kingston, the non-governmental organisation dedicated to life changing interventions for at risk youth is reporting good results.

Y.O.U. has added career support to the range of services it offers. The recently created Youth Integrated Services Centre offers to Jamaicans aged 16 to 26-career support and development assistance.

Services offered under career development include job searches as well as assistance in improving resumes and cover letter writing skills. All services are free of cost.

"Our target group is young adults mostly from the communities and schools in the surrounding area of Camp Road -- including St Hughs, Wolmer's, St George's and Clan Carthy -- and some communities such as Woodford Park and Allman Town Vineyard Town. We get also some participants from as far as Portmore and Spanish Town," said Beckford.

Career counselling, she explains, is done at the centre on an individual basis or through career development workshops which are done weekly and cover such topics as resume writing, making career choices, office attire and business etiquette, networking and the employment process.

"These workshops are facilitated by qualified professionals in the field of career development," said the YOU co-ordinator.

Y.O.U. also provides participants with information on job vacancies advertised in newspapers, online or through partnering organisations.

"Facilities are available for doing job searches, as we have computers available that can be used by the participants to compile resumes, cover letters, send emails and complete online job applications. We also allow students to send fax as necessary."

Individual career assessments is carried out for all participants in Y.O.U programmes and is facilitated by the Careers and Placement unit at the University of Technology (UTech).

Its own placement programme has begun with a partnership, Beckford reveals, with Mothers Patties to provide qualified individuals to work in their restaurants.

Under the centre's Shadow Week programme, high school students are allowed to understudy a worker in selected organisations as well.
Students and other centre users are also taken on periodic tours of business places and other organisations.
The centre also hosts periodic career expositions for students and young adults.

On the last occasion, the Job Bank, Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Constabulary Force, Edna Manley School of Visual and Performing Arts, and HEART Trust/NTA, participated.

On Saturday, November 4, another included the, Caribbean Maritime Institute, Jamaica Fire Brigade, RADA, The Jamaica Defence Force, The Jamaica Constabulary Force, UTech, HEART Trust/NTA and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

"There is no cost for registering or using our facilities. The only cost is for printing and photocopying of any materials", Beckford emphasises.

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