YEDAI Project Manager Highlights Importance of Youth Creativity
Manager for the Government’s Youth Employment in Digital and Animation Industries (YEDAI) Project, Margery Newland, says Jamaica’s economic growth and development are, to some extent, grounded in the creativity of the nation’s youth, particularly as it relates to job creation.
Noting that the society has, in the past, been hamstrung by the belief that young people were obliged to pursue careers in traditional professions, such as education, law and medicine, Mrs. Newland said the view has changed in relation to the current generation which has “no such limitations”.
She was speaking at the Scientific Research Council’s (SRC) National Science and Technology Fair awards ceremony, held at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday (June 12).
“Your only limitations, I think, is where you restrict your imagination (and) creativity…Your responsibility is to use your imagination to the fullest possible extent that you can, to think and work creatively (in doing) things in new ways that show you are able to improvise,” she told the young participants at the fair.
Mrs. Newland also emphasised that the society’s adults and elders have a responsibility “to encourage your creativity and provide mentorship and access to the technology that will help you to succeed. These ingredients are the things that are going to turn your dreams into practical reality”.
Meanwhile, she said the high level of creativity and enthusiasm exhibited by youngsters participating in the fair is “very heartening,” and is a testimonial to the hard work by the SRC in organising the initiative.
Noting the emergence of the local animation industry, Mrs. Newland said ongoing developments are positioning the sector to the point where persons, especially young people, will be able to leverage its benefits to their advantage.
“Everybody is interested in and wants to do animation… which captures people’s imagination,” she said.
For his part, SRC Executive Director, Dr. Cliff Riley, said the agency prides itself in being engaging and relevant through activities such as the fair.
“As we look on Jamaica’s future and the developmental plans to make (it) the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business, there is no way we can achieve that without a well-educated population… that has scientists, problem-solvers and innovators. This is where our students (come in) because they are the solution persons (and) problem-solvers of our future,” he argued.
In this regard, the Executive Director praised the teachers facilitating the students’ development, noting that many of them serve as mentors in providing the youngsters with the necessary guidance and inspiration designed to steer them towards making the correct choices regarding their future.
“Teachers, we really thank you. You are the reasons why we are where we are (as a nation)… because you are the ones who have transformed our lives. When I see how our students are thinking, I am convinced that we don’t have a major problem in terms of the future of science. Once we are able to support our students… our innovators… we will come up with real solutions (for the challenges Jamaica faces),” he added.
More than 350 students and teachers from 20 primary, secondary and tertiary institutions participated in the one-day fair, which featured 36 projects entered for cash and other prizes totalling over $1 million.
The entries were developed in the areas of agriculture; food and agro-processing; energy; information and communications technology and electronics, with special focus on cybersecurity, health and safety, and sports/athletics.
Seaview Primary School, Vere technical High School and Northern Caribbean University topped the respective categories.
The National Science and Technology Fair, which was staged in collaboration with YEDAI and several other partner entities, aims to identify, produce and commercialise products and services geared at improving national growth and development.