Eighty unemployed young persons have been given the opportunity to upskill themselves at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI), under the Next Step Training Initiative of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment.
They will receive training across five disciplines: Photovoltaic Installation; Sound Engineering; Basic Car Maintenance for Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and Electric Vehicles; Care of the Elderly, and Child Care and Nursery Management.
Speaking at the orientation session, held on Wednesday at the SJPI, Youth Project Coordinator in the Ministry of Youth, David Denny, said they were “very happy to work with the SJPI to organise young men and women to participate in the programme.
“The decision on which areas of study the students should undertake was made following consultations with the management of the SJPI, discussion with the Ministry of Labour on new and emerging areas of employment, as well as the growing interest of young people in new areas of work,” he explained.
Mr. Denny said the Ministry would communicate with the students during their course of study, adding that “those who complete the programme will either be referred to other programmes, or the Ministry will assist by supplying small pieces of equipment, so persons can become self-employed”.
Expressing excitement over this new partnership, Principal of the SJPI, Ian Drakes, said that as Barbados’ premier technical vocational training institution, the institute’s partnership with initiatives, such as Next Step, “was key to fulfilling its mandate of providing Barbados with a skilled workforce that can contribute from day one”.
Mr. Drakes announced that the participants would receive full tuition, equipment and supplies, and would also receive a stipend to “ease the financial burden that some may face regarding transportation”.
Meanwhile, one of the students enrolled in the programme, Akeila Cain, said she heard about Next Step from her grandmother. She added that she was keen to gain skills in caring for the elderly and pursue a career in this field.
Students must have an attendance rate of 80 per cent in order to graduate on August 13, 2021.