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Programme to assist 1,000 young adults

Programme to assist 1,000 young adults

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A programme designed to prepare the unemployed out-of-school individuals in the 17-45 year old cohort for remunerative employment has been officially launched.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the Access to Another Nexus in Education for Workforce Development (ANEW) programme, Minister of Education, National Reconciliation and Ecclesiastical Affairs St Clair Prince described the {{more}}programme as one that facilitates and supports the attendance of students who are unable to meet the basic cost of transportation to and from technical institutes.

According to Prince, the programme also provides financial and social development services to young adults between the ages of 17-45 who have dropped out from basic education.

He noted that the programme coincides with the general philosophy of the Government to make education accessible to all for living and production and at the same time provide a vehicle for a pathway out of poverty.

Areas of specialization in the programme include: electrical installation, food and beverage, food preparation, data operations, plumbing, small engine repairs, welding and furniture making.

The minister said the Government expects the Education Revolution to focus on main objectives relating to living and production, excellence, professionalism, opportunities for continuing education.

“We shall continue to focus on the objectives of paying particular attention to the poor, marginalized and vulnerable,” said Prince.

He also stated that any education system is judged by how it responds to the social conditions of a country and how it prepares people for the contemporary environment.

“There’s a higher and expressed need for improved educational attainment and skill certification linked to enhanced employment opportunities in a number of sectors, including construction, hospitality and the tourism sub-sector, in particular areas which are identified as golden sectors in the economy,” Prince added.

He said the participation of certified skilled nationals in these and other sectors would assist St Vincent and the Grenadines in building its human capital.

Prince then expressed thanks to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), who along with the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines funded the programme.

Giving the details of the project, senior education officer Endall Johnson stated that the programme is expected to run for four years. He revealed that during the four-year period, it is anticipated that training leading to a level one Caribbean Vocational Skill Certificate will be provided to approximately 1,000 participants between the ages 17 and 45.

In order to qualify, persons must be unemployed; be drop outs/uncertified school graduates; single parent mothers; fathers who are unable to finance further training or household heads with no certifiable skills and or no skill level.

He said the programme, which commenced in September 2015, enrolled 188 persons out of the 270 targeted, across four technical institutes.

Johnson explained that they did not reach their target because of the capacity of the labs/workshops at the technical institutes, which is eight to 10 persons.

However, he said under the project, the institutes would be upgraded allowing them to take in more students.

Johnson then disclosed that a stipend of about $40,000 has been dispensed to the trainees so far for transportation and child care services.

He disclosed that discussions are ongoing as to the best method for the engagement of counsellors for the provision of psychosocial support to the trainees, which he said is presently given by the principals and staff and visiting counsellors.

Remarks were also given by chief education officer Lou-anne Gilchrist and division chief, social sector division of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Deirdre Clarendon.(AS)

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