Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottley, discusses the newly established Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps (BYAC) at a Post-Cabinet press briefing. (PMO/BGIS)

Government is continuing to invest heavily in this country’s youth.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley alluded to this fact last evening when she announced that Cabinet agreed to the launch of the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps (BYAC), which would empower young Barbadians and expose them to all types of training and career development.

Ms. Mottley made the comments as she addressed a post-Cabinet press conference at Government Headquarters.

She stated that the Barbados Youth Service would be collapsed into the BYAC and young people between the ages of 16 and 20 who left school within the last two years would be exposed to the essential training over a two-year period.

She explained that they would be exposed to digital transformation, whether graphics, coding or even robotics, for those who were mechanically oriented. “The two-year period will be a combination of learning, discipline, citizenship reinforcement and there will be the opportunity to participate in some form of work attachment – first job initiative, apprenticeship or mentorship, depending on the individual,” she stated.

She added that the participants would also learn about construction, design, conflict resolution and personal financial management and budgeting.

The Prime Minister continued: “The Barbados Youth Service had so contracted that they have a number of applicants who they could not accommodate. So, we have a ready first pool for September, but they now have to do the advertisement and the public education for the October, January and end of February cohorts…

“I hope this initiative sends the signal to our young people that you matter and that we are betting on you. We are betting to give you the future you deserve but for you also in accepting that future, to take responsibility for building out your country.”

She said the Director of Youth Service would meet with parents and students to inform them of the change and give them the option of transitioning to this new programme, which would be held at Paragon, Christ Church.

Ms. Mottley expressed the view that the new programme would make a significant difference and that in years to come, employers would be pleased that they were employing well-rounded persons because of their exposure to training through the BYAC. The programme will be collaborated by the Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment, the Ministry of Education and the Prime Minister’s Office, which has responsibility for national security and the Barbados Defence Force. She noted that young people would be given a monthly stipend of $600. She added that because of the nature of the programme, if national emergencies occurred, there would be a core of people trained in basic areas relating to first aid and disaster relief, for example, to render any necessary assistance.

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