A National Youth Policy is currently being prepared and should be ready in 2010.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, who said a committee, consisting of several young people, had been appointed to steer the process.

She made the comments last Friday, while addressing the Barbados Youth Service’s (BYS) Passing Out Parade at Paragon Base, Christ Church, for the October 2009 intake of 87 trainees.

Dr. Byer Suckoo told the trainees and their family members that Government was committed to providing better opportunities for young people in order to assist them in realising their potential. She continued: "Government has a contract with the young people of our nation, to empower you and prepare you for the task of nation building…

"The youth of any nation is its future and most valuable resource, because, without a healthy and well socialised community, a country cannot prosper. Successive governments have realised this, and sought to develop programmes catering to the needs of the youth."

She described the BYS as a viable alternative for young people when they were unable to access agencies such as the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and the Barbados Vocational Training Board.

According to her, the BYS offers the trainees a second chance to acquire new skills, gain qualifications and be creative. She added that the programmes were so diversified that their total development was enhanced.

"The programme is geared towards encouraging trainees to enhance their self-esteem, as it is steeped in counselling, and the development of competencies in the areas of academics, vocation and on-the-job training. The programme is varied, multifaceted and client-centred. It is aimed at achieving positive changes in the trainees, empowering them to take charge of their lives and to demonstrate commitment and responsibility towards self and society," the Minister explained.

Dr. Byer Suckoo pointed out that this residential phase was extremely important to the overall success of the programme. She lauded the Director and staff of the BYS for their hard work and personal interest in the young people, while urging them to continue to be dedicated to the task of nurturing and improving the lives of the youth.??saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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