The current level of unemployment being experienced by youth in Barbados as a result of the worldwide recession is of great concern to Government, and measures are being put in place to assist those persons affected.

This assurance has come from Minister of Labour, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who was speaking at a Barbados Youth Development Council’s (BYDC) Youth Employment Seminar entitled Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for the Way Forward, which was held last weekend in the training room of the Warrens Office Complex.

Explaining that available statistics indicated that some youth had been disproportionately disadvantaged by the recession, she said that a number of Government ministries, along with some civil society organisations, were working diligently on creating additional opportunities for youth.

One such initiative being spearheaded by the Ministry of Labour is the National Employment Policy, out of which a National Youth Employment Action Plan is expected to be developed.

"When I joined the Ministry of Labour, one of the first things we embarked upon [was] a National Youth Employment Policy.?? Out of that will come the action plan…I actually have the draft National Youth Employment Policy in hand and this seeks to?? address many of the issues in the workforce including job creation, conditions in the workplace, decent work, gender issues, and productivity," she explained.

Dr. Byer Suckoo urged, however, that while Government was dedicated to providing more opportunities for the youth, young persons should develop the requisite skills as well as the correct attitude to prepare themselves to successfully grasp opportunities when they are offered.

She further advised youth to have a plan and a vision for the future.?? "…know where you want to go, get the roadmap to identify how you are going to get there, consult with people, find out what you need and how feasible your ideas are in order to refine that plan.

"One of the things the Ministry of Labour is doing, is trying to be a source of information so that you would know what is needed in the workplace…we have been in consultation to try to determine the best way to get employers to give us regular, timely information on what is needed," the Minister added.

The BYDC seminar focused on issues related to the employment and underemployment of youth; how to access entrepreneurial opportunities; and the development of strategies to take the organisation forward.????

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