On 7 September 2022, the Sister Susan Frazer, RSM Educational Complex at the St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre in Hatfield, Manchester opened its doors. The facility, which was originally founded by the Sisters of Mercy and dates back to the 1950s, was named in commemoration of Susan Frazer, the Sisters of Mercy’s area coordinator. The facility focuses on personal development, character formation, employability and entrepreneurship for its students and the youth. According to the centre’s website, the two populations it looks to serve are “school leavers” from 16 to 25 years old and secondary school students from 16 to 18 years old.
With the help of its programmes, trainings and apprenticeships, graduates can work locally in Jamaica or internationally in industries such as quick service, business process outsourcing and hotel and hospitality. Likewise, certifications are available in the culinary arts, butchering, animal husbandry and barbering. To assist the St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre in its upskilling efforts, the Digicel Jamaica Foundation made a donation of US$240,000 to back renovations to the main building. With Digicel’s sponsorship, the centre was upgraded to include a driveway, meeting space and parking spaces outdoors as well as administrative offices, classrooms, training labs and a new entrance.
At the opening, Damian Simpson, a former student of the previous St. John Bosco Boys’ Home, elaborated on how the values he was taught and the instruction he received forever impacted his life — now, he is the Regional Supervisor for the western Region of the Progressive Grocers Group’s meat department. Simpson went on to say, “…do not let your past determine your future because when you leave here, you will be a product of change, positivity and humility.”
More Initiatives From the Digicel Jamaica Foundation
For both the Digicel Jamaica Foundation and the St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre, three universal pillars exist — youth, education, and sustainability. The first way that the Digicel Jamaica Foundation holistically contributes to these areas is through the renovation of centres like the St. John Bosco Vocational Training Centre or the Colm Delves Centre at the Alpha Institute, which emphasises music and the performing arts.
The second way is through camps of its own, such as the Digicel Jamaica Foundation’s robotics summer camp. In conjunction with KRW Tronics and Jamaica Theological Seminary, children curious about professions in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) got the chance to learn about coding and programming.
Finally, the third way the Digicel Jamaica Foundation enacts change around youth, education and sustainability, is through community development. More specifically, the Digicel Jamaica Foundation carries out community development through two programmes, including its small grants and its micro-grants. By sponsoring projects in sectors such as skills training, close to 3,000 jobs have been created domestically. And, in FY2022-2023, of the 46 grants bestowed, 21 grants were community development and training focused.