First Look

Flow Powers GOJ/World Bank Digital Job Generation Initiative

Breakthrough Communications | 2012-05-14 14:37:00

Young Jamaicans will soon be a step closer to accessing the lucrative business opportunities available on the worldwide web, thanks to a partnership between the Government of Jamaica, The World Bank, telecommunications service provider Flow and other multilateral partners.

Minister of Youth and Culture, The Hon. Lisa Hanna on Tuesday launched Digital Jam 2.0, a project aimed at exposing the potential of new technologies and trends in the virtual marketplace. The programme which is financed by the World Bank and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),has the specific purpose of creating jobs and enabling budding entrepreneurs.

Speaking at the launch of the project, Michele English president and COO of Flow said “I think that Digital Jam 2.0 will demonstrate very tangible ways of how we can create more jobs and participate in this emerging market.” English went on to describe the activities of the programme, “Participants will join app development workshops, hone their skills as entrepreneurs and take part in a hack-a-thon to demonstrate the skills picked up throughout the process. They will also learn from global experts and attend a job fair where they will be presented with international job opportunities. ”

Speaking at the launch, Minister Hanna welcomed Flow’s commitment to Digital Jam 2.0 adding that the service provider’s involvement will help Jamaicans to take advantage of the virtual market place which has been described as a US$1 billion employment industry. This she says is especially timely in light of the high level of unemployment that currently exists on the island, and the ripple effect of these statistics.

“According to the Planning Institute of Jamaica, 70 per cent of the nation’s young people are not trained; 55 per cent left high school without attaining the requisite qualifications for matriculation into higher education (also) young people under the age of 30 are responsible for 75 percent of the nation’s crime.”

Fabio Pittaluga  senior social development specialist at The World Bank sees Flow as a vital partner in the new project remarking, “I think this is a wonderful partnership that we have established with Flow. Flow is central and critical to the happening of this event, and I look forward to a longer term partnership with Flow beyond this event.”

Flow’s involvement in Digital Jam 2.0 is the latest in the company’s effort to foster national development by enabling innovation. The telecommunications provider has also provided support to the PSOJ’s Youth Upliftment Through Education (YUTE)initiative, JAMPRO’s Jamaica Investment Forum Information Communication Technology (ICT) round table.

According to Ivan Gonzales ICT analyst for the World Bank, the organization was not only impressed by the fact that Flow came on board, but at the short time it took the telecommunications company to agree to be part of the initiative. “How fast they made the decision to come on board shows how fast they can see an opportunity and make decisions for the youth of Jamaica.”

Gonzales was also very impressed with the company’s reach to go behind basic support remarking, "Flow is providing an amazing opportunity for youth to get involved, they aren’t just providing connectivity but one year free internet for the youths that win prizes and internships at Flow. Since it is a regional company, we think it Is great to give youths an opening into the international job market.”

Over the last six years Flow has brought an extensive fibre optic network, which delivers the fastest, internet to Jamaica. This capacity will enable the kinds of innovation and participation in emerging job markets that Digital Jam 2.0 will highlight.

Ingrid Riley, project coordinator for Digital Jam 2.0 stated “Flow has been very helpful in this process. We are so happy to have Flow on board for what is really a national initiative for engaging young people and putting before them the informational experiences that will enable them to think about employment and entrepreneurship in the digital age.”

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