Ministry of Education, Guyana

Sunday, 31 March 2019 13:18

Youths get second chance

— as Guyana Youth Corps rolls out skills training programmes

Come Monday April 1, approximately 500 young Guyanese will commence training at 55 locations across the country under the umbrella of the Guyana Youth Corps, as the government takes another step at reducing the youth unemployment rate in the country by making young people job-ready.

The Guyana Youth Corps students will undergo training in their chosen technical vocational skill area as well as leadership, job readiness training, entrepreneurship and mentorship training – and many of them are seeing it as an opportunity to acquire the requisite skills and knowledge needed for the job market, and to become owners of their businesses.
Twenty-one-year-old Stephan Pollard of Agricola is among the persons enrolled in the programme. After ‘dropping out’ of school at the age of 15, Pollard is looking to turn a new leaf.

In an interview with Guyana Chronicle on Thursday at Kuru Kuru, shortly after the launch of the Guyana Youth Corps by President David Granger, Pollard said he is ready to capitalise on the 20190401 9
“I am glad for this opportunity to follow-up with this school thing and get a certificate,” he told this newspaper. Pollard has an interest in catering and electrical installation, and hopes one day, he will be able to set up his own business. “I drop out of school six years ago because of the environment I was in, but I am looking to be a better person in this life,” the 21-year-old said.

Sarah Truman of Sophia said ever so often employers demand experience even from those who would have just completed their formal secondary school education, and the programme, being facilitated through the Guyana Youth Corps, will help young Guyanese to acquire the needed experience.

“The job readiness training will make more youths marketable. Most places ask how many years of experience you have, and the on the job training will help us to get employment and to understand what really the job entails and get the job done right,” Truman told this newspaper.

The young woman, who seizes every opportunity to acquire additional knowledge and skills and has an interest in renewable energy, said the programme is not limited to school drop-outs, and young people like herself should capitalise on the opportunity.

“I would encourage persons from the Sophia area, not just the drop-outs but the youths, and when I say youths, I mean those within the age range 17 to 25, to take this up, take the opportunity, and take up the mantle to do something to better themselves,” Truman 20190401 10

Her friend and colleague, 19-year-old Halle Wilson of Sophia, also echoed similar sentiments. Wilson has an interest in renewable energy and is anxious to commence training come Monday. “It will help me to better me, to realise my dreams, to gain a skill, and I couldn’t be more thankful,” Wilson said.
Wilson and Truman formed part of a group that travelled from Sophia, Greater Georgetown to Kuru Kuru on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway to witness the historic launch of the Guyana Youth Corps.

Shameer Mentore, 19, of Bartica, has a deep love for football and a great interest in infrastructure development. He sees the Guyana Youth Corps as an avenue to tap into the construction industry.

Mentore said employment options in Bartica are limited and that, he said, pose a major challenge for youths, particularly for those who did not complete secondary school or have little or no experience.

His desire is to have his fellow Barticians join the Guyana Youth Corps as means of becoming exposed to the various sectors within the country. Before joining the Guyana Youth Corps, the 19-year-old completed leadership skills training.

Nineteen-year-old Intheil Moses of Bartica has applied to the Government Technical Institute in Georgetown to study mechanical engineering come September; however, in the interim; he has opted to undergo training with the Guyana Youth Corps.

“I think it is a good thing that government doing. It will really help us and I really appreciate it, especially for the youths,” Moses told this newspaper.
Ezekiel Dawson of Temehri, 16, is still in school but he is not letting up on this opportunity to gain experience in the area of carpentry. According to Dawson, the housing industry in Guyana is on the rise, and he will seize every opportunity to tap into the industry. Dawson intends to be self-employed.

The training will be facilitated primarily by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs – Hinterland Employment Youth Service (HEYS) programme, the Ministry of Social Protection – Board of Industrial Training, the Ministry of the Presidency – Department of Social Cohesion, Culture, Youth and Sport – Department of Youth and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Director of youth, Melissa Carmichael, said the Guyana Youth Corps will not only train persons, but will help them to gain employment, start and sustain their business, transition to higher education, promote social cohesion and contribute to the sustainable development of Guyana.

Carmichael said through the programme young people will be exposed to the various industries of the country.
“We have noticed at the Department of Youth, one of the things, that is frequent or that is currently happening, is that there is gap between leaving school and entering the employment arena, and we want to fill that gap and one of the ways we can fill that gap is by providing young people with the requisite skills to make them job-ready,” the director of youth explained.

The programme will also focus on entrepreneurship and persons with feasible business proposals will be given an opportunity to tap into the Youth Innovation Fund.
“While we train them to be businessmen and businesswomen, there is always the issue of finding funding to develop (their ideas), so that is one of the reasons the Youth Innovation Fund came on board in the first place. So the Youth Innovation Fund or project is now a part of the Youth Corps, and they will benefit from that,” Carmichael explained.

New and budding entrepreneurs will be able to receive a maximum grant of $2M from the Youth Innovation Fund to develop their business proposals. In 2019, $70M was set aside for the fund. When the fund started in 2017 as a capital project, the government had allocated $50M, but given the success stories stemming from the programme, it took a decision to increase the amount in 2019.

The Guyana Youth Corps is designed to address social problems affecting youth such as unemployment, drugs and drug abuse, illiteracy and innumeracy, suicide, low self-esteem, teenage pregnancy and poor leadership skills. Its mission is to educate, train, empower and promote social cohesion among young people while contributing to the sustainable development of Guyana and its people. President Granger said the launch of the youth corps is a signal to the country’s young people that their efforts at self-advancement will be supported fully by the State.


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