Government is appealing to employers to continue to come forward and aid its Job Start Plus Initiative that targets the youth.
The call came yesterday as Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, addressed the roll out of the first set of training for 60 young persons under the programme, in the Lecture Theatre, 1st Floor Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.
Pointing out that there was still a long way to go towards helping youth gain workplace skills and experience, Minister Jordan said: “We will keep pushing to get the programme on a larger scale. I want to appeal to the employers to come on board. We’ve met with employers in a number of sectors…. We’ve spoken to the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry; we’ve communicated with the Small Business Association and a number of other bodies.
“We have not had the kind of response so far that we would have wanted. We recognize that from the Ministry’s perspective we have to put in some additional effort, but I want to appeal to businesses and organizations to partner with Government [and] to partner with this Ministry so that we can offer more and meaningful opportunities for young people.”
While declaring it was the responsibility of his Ministry to help address youth unemployment, he stressed: “We will not be content to moan about young people getting themselves in trouble, either in criminal trouble or some other socially deviant form of problem. We believe rather than criticizing young people we have a responsibility to hold your hands…. We have a responsibility to you.”
Job Start Plus is one aspect of the island’s National Youth Employment Programme. It targets youth between the ages of 16 and 24 and is designed for that cohort who is not in employment, education or training. It is expected to train and work with some 3,500 of them annually.
As a public-private partnership, the programme is seeking employers associated with large and small businesses to provide guidance and work experience to young people that could lead to future employment opportunities and alleviate ‘youth in poverty’.
The Ministry is hoping that skilled tradesmen, craftsmen and artisans would come forward and facilitate the initiative, as well as those regarded as the Third Sector, namely non-governmental organizations, civil society and community-based organizations.
The areas of interest include, among others, agri-business, arts and craft, automotive, food and dining, general services, professional services, information and communication technologies, cosmetology, transportation, health and the building trades.
For further information, interested employers may contact Orville Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 535-1453; Moreen Bowen at email@example.com or 535-1452; Carlon Kellman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 535-1449, or Erika Watson at email@example.com or 535-1451, of the Ministry’s Human Resource Development Unit.
They may also submit correspondence to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, 3rd Floor, West Wing, Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.