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Government will not be giving up on its unemployed youth!

This was emphasized today by Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, at the official opening of the first training workshop, for 60 youth under Government’s Job Start Plus programme, at the Warren’s Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael,

Acknowledging that his Ministry would instead be taking responsibility for young people, through training more than 3,500 yearly under this initiative, he said: “We recognized that we needed to do something to assist young people in making the step from school into work.  Many of you may know that getting jobs is not easy, not easy in this environment.  We’re working to change that but what makes it a bit more difficult for young people is the fact that you don’t have any work experience.

“So, [with] almost every job you see advertised there is a requirement for some kind of work experience and what young people have been telling me is that ‘you want me to be working but every job asks for work experience, but I don’t have any work experience.  Nobody is giving me the opportunity to get the work experience.’ And, that has caused many of the country’s young people to be frustrated.”

Noting that unemployment was an issue for small island developing states, Minister Jordan said youth unemployment was a challenge for countries, including Barbados, and in 2017, there were 14,100 young people in the workforce and of that figure 29.3 per cent of them were unemployed. 

He stressed that his Ministry accepted it had a responsibility to the island’s youth and hence the impetus behind its Human Resource Development Implementation and Monitoring Unit developing the National Youth Employment Programme, of which Job Start Plus is the flagship initiative.

Job Start Plus targets young people between the ages of 16 and 24, who have not worked before, who are not in training or education and lack the requisite certification. 

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While adding that its specific objectives were to increase certification; improve the school-to-work transition; increase employment among young people and create multiple pathways to employment, he lamented: “Too many of our young people leave school without certification and that causes, sometimes, older people to say that some of you have wasted your time in school.”

However, outlining his own position on the youth’s quest for employment, Minister Jordan said: “We have to give opportunities to young people even if you have wasted time in school, we are not giving up on you.  We are going to provide opportunities where you can redeem yourselves; find new opportunities to get the certification that right now some of you may be sorry that you hadn’t paid more attention while you were in school to getting that certification….  Our position is not to give up on our young people.”

The Labour Minister further noted that the Job Start Plus programme and its training would provide opportunities for youth “to make something of themselves”, gain valuable work experience and orient them into considering different pathways to work, including in industries and areas of skills as well as find alternatives to working for others, namely self-employment.

The five-day workshop will examine among others Effective Communication; Personal Branding; Work Ethics; Resumé Writing; Effective Job Search Strategies and Interview Techniques.

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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