The establishment of Regional Youth Councils across the country, along with the formulation of a National Youth Counseling Programme, a Youth Entrepreneurial Framework, and Youth Apprenticeship Programme, are just a few of the ways in which the government has catered for the development of young people in the 2019 budget.
The 2019 budget youth programmes are looking to continue the success of the youth programmes implemented through the 2018 budget. This year saw a lot of movement in the youth arena, with the continuation of the Youth Innovation Project, and the inaugural hosting of the Guyana Youth Business Summit and National Youth Conference.
For 2019, the Department of Youth will receive a total of $809,192,000 for its current budget and a total of $ $236,997,000 for capital. As with 2018, much of that money will be going towards several programmes aimed at putting priority on youth development.
This was all happily relayed by Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. George Norton, when he made his presentation during the budget debate before the National Assembly on Wednesday.
“The Department’s primary focus for 2019 will be on the implementation of comprehensive, strategic and sustained plans, programs and interventions that will enable youth across Guyana to access and compete fully in the job markets and establish their own business if they so desire,” Norton told the House.
In terms of new programmes for 2019, aside from those already mentioned, $15,000,000 has been set aside for the hosting of an inaugural Youth Festival, $12,000,000 will go towards hosting of a Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Conference, and another $7,000,000 is set aside for the establishment of a Green Ambassadors’ Programme through collaboration with key agencies such as UNESCO.
Some $4,000,000 has been budgeted for the creation of the Regional Youth Councils, which are expected to facilitate meaningful and constructive dialogue on youth issues. Though most of the programmes will cover the entire country, special consideration nonetheless was given for the hinterland communities.
The 2019 budget sets aside $6,000,000 for the expanding volunteer hubs to the hinterland regions with a view of fostering a spirit of volunteerism among youth.
The Youth Innovation Project, which offers grants to entrepreneurial youths aware of issues, challenges or difficulties in their community and wish to propose a solution, will be increased to $70,000,000 in 2019.
The programme, which first began in 2017, issued $40,000,000 in grants to 20 youngsters at its start up, and increased to dispensing $45,000,000 in grants to 30 youths this year.
The Guyana Youth Business Summit was a new component arising out of the Youth Innovation Project, and saw some 130 youths participating, eleven of which were selected to receive grant funding for innovative business start-ups totaling $$9,305,860.
Ten young persons were granted scholarships to Global Technology Institute, while three young persons were awarded scholarships to the Cacique Accounting College, and a further two young people were awarded tablets to be utilized for their educational pursuits, as part of the first ever National Youth Conference.
For 2018, with an allocation of some $784, 248,000, approximately 25,000 youths were reached through various training and sensitization programmes, and to date 90-95 per cent of the total of 120 planned activities have been completed.
Of that money, some $191,677,000 was plugged into the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training Programme, in which 528 young people under the age of 25 years from all across the country participated, and the investment has already yielded success.
Already 60 per cent of the individuals have taken up employment with private companies and other entities, while another 20 per cent went on to higher education and 10 per cent became self-employed.