CSJP Beneficiary is Now a Proud Entrepreneur
PHOTO: Twenty-four year old entrepreneur and Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) beneficiary, Edward Jackson (2nd right), stands with his employees Karon Ashmed (left), Kavar Barnaby (2nd left) and Lascelles Wright (right) at their graduation from the Career Advancement Programme in July at the St. Andrew Technical High School.
(Contributed by the Jamaica Information Service)
Edward Jackson used his fortnightly stipend of $12,000 from the Citizen, Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) to fulfill his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Mr. Jackson’s stipend was to be used for transportation and to fulfill other immediate expenses incurred while he was doing his skills training at the HEART Trust/NTA, as well as internship at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
However the eagerness within him to become an entrepreneur was his main focus and this propelled him to make the necessary sacrifices, to ‘stretch’ his stipend to do more than just that.
“From a tender age I have always wanted to be my own boss, because I wanted to create opportunities for others and to see my way out of poverty. On my journey to becoming an entrepreneur, there were many hurdles that I had to go over, such as discouragement and lack of start-up capital. I had to work twice as hard to make things work,” he says.
Fast forward five years later and Mr. Jackson is a proud entrepreneur of a start-up mobile business, E. Jackson Electrical Services, with four employees from his home community, Tower Hill.
Life skills learned at the JDF and JCF such as punctuality, honesty, professionalism and discipline have been applied to his business.
The 24 year-old entrepreneur, is one of more than 20,000 at-risk youth who have benefited from the CSJP since its inception and he has become an ambassador.
Mr. Jackson was only 19 years old when he got involved with the CSJP and he has been an ambassador ever since.
“The CSJP family has done a lot for me and I appreciate it. I always remember them because they have helped me to become the head corner stone for my family,” he says.
Through CSJP partnerships, he has acquired skills in building construction, welding, plumbing, property maintenance, electrical installation and maintenance.
In addition he has garnered experience in the skill areas, having done repairs on prison cells and government buildings though internships and on-the-job trainings.
Mr. Jackson’s four employees are sixth form students, who are now at the same age he was when CSJP first made a positive impact on his life.
He informs JIS News that two of his employees are certified electricians and recently received grade ones in Electrical and Electronic Technology at the Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) level.
The entrepreneur is pleased with his accomplishments and lauds the CSJP for the opportunities he has received.
“It is a wonderful feeling knowing that I have gone through the different channels of CSJP and how the programme has helped to mentor me where planning, discipline and punctuality is concerned, as well as the importance of being responsible,” he shares.
Three of Mr. Jackson’s employees are pursuing Electrical Installation in sixth form, with the dream of becoming Electrical Engineers.
Employee and sixth form student at the St. Andrew Technical School , Kevar Barnaby, says his employment with Mr. Jackson, over the past two years, has helped him to purchase his back-to-school supplies for lower and upper sixth form.
“I am really grateful to Mr. Jackson because he has really helped me. He is also a motivator, someone I can always talk to, he does not have me as just a worker he treats me like a little brother,” he shares.
Mr. Barnaby says Mr. Jackson is a role model to their community as well as “he empowers and motivates others, not by talking to them, but because of the level he has reached.”
Meanwhile, Senior Labour Market Case Officer, Denise Adams at CSJP, tells JIS News that Mr. Jackson stood out from the moment she met him while doing his internship at the JDF.
“Edward has truly been an ambassador for the CSJP and has certainly shown other young persons that it is not how you start, but how you choose to finish. At the CSJP we always promote ourselves as a second chance programme, one that is able to give persons an opportunity to make something of their lives and to provide empowerment for themselves,” she highlights.
Ms. Adams says that the step and initiative that Mr. Jackson took to start his business and to create employment opportunities for others, is a true testament of what the programme is about and the impact it has had on the life of others.
“I am very proud of Edward. He is someone that has more to achieve and I am sure that in the future he will be a force to reckon with,” she states.
Edward Jackson, now a certified electrician, intends to broaden his skills by becoming a licensed electrician in the next two years.