Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde, presenting a certificate to one of the participants in the first round of training in the Building Blocks initiative at the Parkinson Resource last Friday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Youth unemployment is a major cause for concern in Barbados.

This view was expressed by Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde, at the closing ceremony for the first round of training in the Building Blocks initiative last Friday, at the Parkinson Resource Centre, The Pine, St. Michael.

Mr. Forde went on to explain that Barbados’ unemployment rate was three times higher than the total global unemployment rate, which stands at 4.3 per cent.

Pointing to recent statistics the Youth Minister lamented: “Here in Barbados, the most recent statistics show a youth unemployment rate of 29.1 per cent, as compared to the total unemployment rate of 10 per cent.”

Minister Forde revealed that “the Building Blocks project was developed within the context of these varied, deep-rooted and inter-connected challenges, and is intended to provide a response that is holistic, well co-ordinated, innovative and inclusive.  The major aim is to provide an intervention that is transformative and revolutionary, while creating an impact that would transform blocks from the currently perceived negative activities into exciting, viable community-driven small business centres.”

He shared that the Building Blocks project was intended to provide financial and technical resources needed to transform the lives of young people, while at the same time catering to the creation of community based enterprises.

He revealed that participants would receive training in entrepreneurship and life skills development, which is expected to allow them to effectively manage and grow their businesses into viable and sustainable enterprises.

The Building Blocks project was started in the communities of Silver Hill, Bonnetts, Parkinson Field and The Ivy.

The Youth Minister promised that, once the approval process was finalised with the relevant regulatory agencies, Barbadians would see “community areas renowned for negative behaviours transformed into attractive areas of business managed by young people, making positive contributions to their personal, family and community development”.

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