Culture Minister, Stephen Lashley speaking at the Pinelands Creative Workshop’s Career and Life Management Programme at the UWI Open Campus while the head table and members of the audience look on. (C.Henry/BGIS)

Secondary school students have been advised not to limit themselves to the traditional sectors of employment in this economy.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley shared this message yesterday, with 30 participants in the Pinelands Creative Workshop’s Career and Life Management (CALM) Programme, as he addressed its opening ceremony which was held at the University of the West Indies Open Campus, The Pine, yesterday.

He said: "…My Ministry continues to emphasise that the present economic situation throws up several opportunities for young people to pursue innovation and to create employment opportunities in non-traditional areas such as the growing cultural industries sector, in ICTs, digital media and entrepreneurship to mention a few.?? And the good news is that many of our youth are beginning to recognise and take advantage of these opportunities."

According to him, the CALM programme, which is in its 13th year, was once again being held at a critical time.?? He said such an initiative exposed the youth to taking positive risks, future planning and career guidance.??

Mr. Lashley praised the Pinelands Creative Workshop for its "commitment and unswerving work to initiate developmental programmes that seek to engage and employ the minds of young people and promote citizenship."??

Lauding the training component of the two-week workshop, he added: "My review of the outline of the CALM programme is that it has all the inputs to achieve its objective to brand and retool young adults by providing them with personal and career specific skills that would assist them in gaining and maintaining mainstream productive work or to explore entrepreneurial options."

Some of the topics the students will cover include Personal Assessment and Planning, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Job Seeking Tools and Interview Techniques, and Personal and Professional Etiquette, among other practical tools.??????

"I am convinced that the acquisition of such skills will go a long way to ensure that you achieve your chosen employment goals and that you will be able to perform your various tasks at the optimum level. This would not only bring enormous personal satisfaction but also ensure the stability of your employment and enhance the profitability and effectiveness of the organisations for which you work or those that you create," he said.

Adding that the overall objective of CALM was to ensure that well-rounded young people would emerge from the training, he asserted, "I am sure that the program will provide consistent positive experiences to help you, the participants, to transition from the school setting to the world of work."????

Minister Lashley lamented that young people were severely impacted by the ongoing economic recession and suggested that if it persisted, it would negatively impact on their ability to find the quality or quantity of traditional jobs readily available when they come of age and enter into the job market.

In fact, he added, that if the Government maintained its commitment to provide job security to public sector workers, then "newcomers to the labour market will have to be more dynamic and assertive in seeking out limited job opportunities that may be available in the Public Service, while creating their own entrepreneurial opportunities."

Emphasising that his view of the economic recession was not one of "doom and gloom", he suggested that such circumstances offered youth the opportunity to change focus, re-examine productivity, "and to lay the foundation once and for all, not by words and wishes, but by our very actions, upon which economic growth can be guaranteed.

"As for the role of the Government, we will continue to pay attention to the unique needs of our youth, and seek always to provide the right opportunities and structures within our communities that will empower them," he affirmed.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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