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Pre-Technology Programme being offered to vulnerable youths

Pre-Technology  Programme being offered to vulnerable youths

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Vulnerable and at risk youth who have for one reason or the other failed to complete their primary or secondary education will now have a second chance at doing so.

The Sector Skills Department Agency has partnered with the Ministry of Education, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), Department for International Development (DFID) and the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade {{more}}and Development (DFTAD) to offer vulnerable youth a Pre-Technology Programme; which is geared at outfitting at risk youth with a set of skills to make them productive members of the society.

“The programme is designed to meet some training needs to upgrade them so that they can be prepared for the world of work…this programme is designed to recapture or to reclaim those disadvantaged youth who are at risk,” Kenneth King explained at the official launch of the programme on Tuesday 20.

King also indicated that the programme will focus on seven courses including electrical instillation, plumbing, data operations, food and beverage, cosmetology, welding, small engine repair.

Additionally the course will offer the participants the numeracy, literacy and communication skills which he believes is vital for their survival in the job market.

The programme which is scheduled to begin its second installment in January will take place at the four technical institutes across the island and will run for a three month period.

Upon completing the programme participants will receive a certificate which according to King will make them eligible for employment across the Caribbean.

“It has all those elements in it that makes them ready, they can go not only in St. Vincent but any other part of the Caribbean and the world and gain employment which is decent.”

King who serves as the Youth Skills Development (YSD) coordinator stated that even though participants often drop out of courses, he is hopeful that there will be no fewer than 220 graduating students from the Pre Technology Programme.

“We hope that the youth … will stay the full course. We have had some challenges where some have come, dropped out but we continue to recruit,” he said.

He pointed out that the programme has seen participation form former inmates of the prisons here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, which he sees as a good thing.

“I would like to mention in particular the prisons…we have persons who are ex prisoners they are also in the programme we are not leaving out anyone.”

Chief education officer Lou Ann Gilchrist outlined that this programme is one of many which the ministry has called second chance programmes.

“It is one of the philosophies under which we operate in the Ministry of Education so that we can offer to members of the population multiple opportunities…to gain qualifications and skills from which they would launch themselves into employment.”

The chief education officer is of the opinion that these programmes are vital not only for personal development of the participants’ but also for the overall development of the country.

“There must be a programme that targets the various sectors of the population that meets the needs of various sectors of this population so that their employment can be assured…and so that the productivity of the country as a whole is enhanced.”

She disclosed that at an upcoming meeting of CARICOM there will be a formal conferment of CVQ granting status to the sector skills development agency of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gilchrist told those in attendance that it is time for Vincentians to get rid of the mindset that technical and vocational education teaching is on the outside spectrum of the education system.

“Let us not consider TVET to be the outside child of the education system for it is not, the efforts and work of the sector skills agency, the national qualifications department along with the efforts of the adult and continuing education unit…combine to find those persons in the population who have skills but who need to have those skills formally certified.”

Cherianne Clarke, DFID representative explained that this programme is the fourth such launch across the Caribbean.

She said a £360 million package for new funding across the Caribbean was recently announced.

“Our current programme focuses on three main pillars…growth and wealth creation, climate change and disastrous reduction and governance and security…so our work here in supporting this project falls under our growth pillar,” Clarke outlined.

She said the programme had been specifically designed to target the disadvantaged youth so they could help unlock the potential and help them to support themselves and make a positive contribution to society.

The launch, which was held at the National Insurance Services training room also heard brief remarks from the Tracy Brenton representative of the College of the Rockies and Dr Linda Cooke, Senior Technical Advisor/ Regional Coordinator of C-EFE programme.(CM)

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