An appeal has gone out for the private sector to aid more young people in attaining opportunities to help their transition from school to the world of work.

It came today from Education Lead Specialist with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Dr. Sabine Rieble-Aubourg, following visits to a number of projects funded by that organisation under the US$20 million loan agreement of the Skills For The Future Program, signed last year by the Government of Barbados.

Dr. Rieble-Aubourg called on the sector to be open to participants in the A Ganar programme by providing opportunities for young persons to have an internship or initial work experience, so they could ???get their feet wet??? and have a better understanding of what was required of them.

The A Ganar pilot programme, which began last year, is being coordinated by the Partners of America, Washington, D.C, and Barbados??? Country Coordinator, Ytannia Wiggins.

Expressing satisfaction with the pilot, which is now in its second phase, the IDB specialist said the programme aimed to increase the employability of young people, and better prepare them to enter the world of work.

???When we started to develop the loan, we had close interaction with the private sector and the business sector. It is not a unique observation to Barbados but many private sector representatives indicated that many young persons coming out of secondary education are really not ready for work.

???They do not know how to properly behave in an interview or to get ready for an interview, plus the etiquette and the norms in terms of how you are supposed to behave in a workplace, and so the A Ganar programme helps instill these skills in the young persons,??? she revealed.

A Ganar was developed by the Multi-lateral Investment Fund of the IDB, and has thus far been implemented in about 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. While noting its success in helping to strengthen the school-to-work transition, the IDB official said, however, what was unique about its implementation in Barbados was that it was also happening in a formal school setting.

Noting that time was spent last year to ensure its successful implementation in such a setting, Dr. Rieble-Aubourg said: ???In a way, what we see today is the result of that initial implementation; we hope that the good start continues and we are very happy at this point about the good collaboration between the Ministry of Education, the secondary schools and the post-secondary institutions.

Today???s visit saw the IDB and the Ministry taking the media to Benskin???s Hospitality Institute in Prospect, St. James, and the Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB), in St. Luke???s, Brighton, St. George.

At the Hospitality Institute, young people were observed being trained to set the table and perform other hospitality functions, while their counterparts used digital media to film the sessions. At the BVTB, students were seen getting an understanding of the core skills and principles under A Ganar, and engaging in role playing.

The tour was also led by Programme Director of the Programme Coordinating Unit, Paul Murphy, who pointed out that the Education Ministry was ???gearing up for major activities over the next few months???.

He said: ???One of the things that we are hoping to announce over the coming days and weeks will be the winning proposals for the Competency-Based Training Fund, another flagship initiative for the Skills For the Future Program, and then we are going to be doing some institutional strengthening of our secondary and post- secondary institutions, as well as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development.???

Referring to the School Improvement Grant, out of which three schools have already received grants up to BDS$60,000, Mr. Murphy said this was for basic improvements that could relate to literacy, numeracy, technical and vocational education. He added this could be for any area which schools consider necessary for the further development of their student, staff or their entire school community.

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