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National Youth Service
Empowering The Jamaican Youth


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National Youth ServiceNational Youth Service

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

Many Jamaicans have memories of participating in the National Youth Service during their young adult years. Not all of them are remembered fondly.

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The National Youth Service programme’s main objective is to ready Jamaicans for approaching adulthood with the skills they need to excel in the working world. Their summer work programmes are especially popular with tertiary students and secondary students transitioning into college, university or vocational studies.

In which year was the NYS established?

The National Youth Service programme began in 1973 and ran until 1983. The programme was relaunched in 1995, to curtail the rising percentage of young adults who are unemployed, uneducated and lack the skills necessary to get a job. In, 1999 a bill was tabled and written into Jamaican law to mandate the National Youth Service.

In most cases, the National Youth Service partners with HEART Trust NSTA, schools and colleges to monetise internships in cases where they are unpaid. To run the full gamut of programmes offered by NYS will be next to impossible. These are some of the offerings of the programme:

  • The Corps Programme – This is a four-week career training and re-socialisation residential orientation followed by six-month job placement. This programme is geared at high school and tertiary-aged students.

  • The Jamaica/Canada Youth Exchange (JAMCANYE) – The annual youth exchange program focuses on literacy efforts in both countries.

  • The Jamaica Values and Attitudes Project for Tertiary Students (JAMVAT) – This programme provides partial payment of tuition fees in exchange for voluntary service.

  • The Information Communication Technology (ICT) – A certificate course for the disabled.

  • The National Summer Employment Programme – This programme held during the holidays, offers students a chance to work during the summer break.

  • The NYS in Schools Project – Geared at high school students in an effort to improve the value system of teenagers in the school system through social clubs.

  • The NYS Volunteerism Project – Projects held in partnership with other organisations, the community and private sponsors.

The Summer and GWEP programmes are the most successful in my opinion. The GWEP programme will assist graduates in finding a temporary job for a period of time, usually 6 months. In some cases participants are kept on by the company due to their display of professionalism, ability and willingness displayed.

Even if you are not offered a job at the end of your tenure, this still helps tremendously as it is quite often a lack of experience that thwarts a graduate's chances of landing a job.

General Requirements of NYS

If don’t yet possess a bank account, ID, TRN or NIS, you can still apply. These documents are a requirement to begin working not to apply.

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

How To Apply

The application form can be downloaded from the Heart Trust/NSTA or National Youth Service websites. After it is completed you must bring it to the local NYS office, Heart Trust or Jamaican For Lifelong Learning offices.

Physical copies of the application form can also be collected at these places just the same. The completed form should be accompanied by, a passport-size photograph signed by a JP, a copy of the birth certificate, relevant school records and a reference letter.

After it is filled out, you will be contacted to know if your application has been accepted. If it is, you will be notified of the date for your interview which will ultimately determine your position.

If you are successful, you will be notified of where you have been placed and the duration of your placement.

For example, the Summer Programme is run for 4 weeks during the summer and there are two placement dates.

The specific information for each program is available on the NYS or Heart Trust website. Or you can reach out to the local office for information.

Contact Information

Head Office (Kingston and St. Andrew)

  • Address: 6 Collins Green Avenue, Kingston 5.
  • Phone: +1 (876) 754-9816-8

The National Youth Service has proven good in its commitment to bettering the nation's youth and preparing them for adulthood.

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References & Sources For National Youth Service

  1. National Youth Service (NYS) of Jamaica Summer Programmes,
  2. National Youth Service,
  3. National Youth Service (NYS) of Jamaica Summer Programmes,
  4. National Youth Service Act | Ministry of Justice - Government of Jamaica,
  5. National Youth Service | Youth Information Centers - NCYD Jamaica,
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