The structure of the Barbados Youth Service is actively being reviewed.

So says Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Ruth Blackman. Her comments were made as she addressed the Barbados Youth Service???s graduation ceremony last Saturday at the Lester Vaughn Secondary School.

Stating that the institution has a critical role to play in the empowerment process of this island???s youth, Ms. Blackman said, ??????the Barbados Youth Service will be benefitting from the synergies being created at the level of programming between the Ministry and its various agencies.

???All initiatives undertaken by the Ministry and its agencies at this time are guided by the National Youth Policy which has at its core, the provision of an enabling environment for the empowerment of young people.???

Explaining that educational and training opportunities would continue to be created through the Barbados Youth Service, the Permanent Secretary noted that this was essential in ensuring the ???holistic development of our young people???.

She admitted that although the institution was faced with several challenges, it retained its attractiveness as a programme of choice for the youth.

???The displacement from its original home at Harrison???s Point in St. Lucy following the fire at her Majesty???s Prison Glendairy, has impacted the level of intake which has been limited to one per year rather than the usual two??? The intake quota has been drastically reduced and now stands at 80 per intake,??? she lamented.

Mrs. Blackman explained that given the current circumstances the profile of trainees could not be as ???broad-based as one would like, as the focus is placed on targetting those who need the service most???. She added the scope of the programme also had to be modified.

However, she maintained that despite the challenges, there was a positive perception of the Barbados Youth Service since the ???training regime??? has produced graduates who work in the legal fraternity, the media, in nursing, the Royal Barbados Police Force, and the Barbados Defence Force.

She asserted: ???Over the years, it has proven to be a lifeline for many of our young people, especially those who are vulnerable. It has afforded second chances to those whose circumstances would have erected barriers in their path, thus thwarting their ability to realise their full potential. It has allowed those who were searching to find themselves and become productive citizens.???

???Exposure to structured training in different areas, the opportunity to acquire CXCs, work experience and job attachments as well as counseling, has resulted in a more disciplined person,??? Mrs. Blackman said.

Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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