Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland. (FP)

The Youth Achieving Results (YAR) 2021 programme was launched virtually today, and it offers a blend of disciplines for young persons interested in the cultural industries.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, speaking at the launch, highlighted the genesis of this initiative.

“This programme represents a longstanding partnership between the Ministry’s Youth Development Programme and the National Cultural Foundation, which was created to develop a cadre of multi-skilled performers and artistes, artists and craft persons. Youth Achieving Results…is an incubator programme which applies an inter-disciplinary approach to the development of the arts, and through this approach, participants are exposed to life skills and the various skills involved in either the Performing Arts or the Visual Arts.”

He continued: “Youth have an important role to play in nation-building…. Our youth represent our nation’s future, and we must therefore create opportunities which will allow them to be prepared for that future.”

Mr. Sutherland also spoke about the courses being offered, which include vocal training, stage management, painting and jewellery making. 

He also noted the role YAR plays in the personal development of participants. “The programme helps to build the confidence and self-esteem…and by so doing, it empowers them to be independent, confident and productive citizens.”

He pointed out that the market for the cultural industries had grown significantly over the years with many people around the world rising to high levels of achievement in a number of areas, including film production, make-up artistry, acting, music, dance, fine art and apparel production.

While acknowledging the international success of local talent, the Minister mentioned names such as Sheena Rose, a visual artist whose work has been showcased on the covers of The New York Times; Junior Sealy, a stylist and designer who was named as the 2020 Caribbean Fashion Director for Fashion Week Brooklyn; Allison Hinds, an entertainer who is known internationally as the Soca Queen of the Caribbean, and Allison Sealy-Smith, an actress who is currently employed at the National Cultural Foundation and performed in the 2003 film Honey.

Mr. Sutherland urged the participants to investigate all of the opportunities available to them and to use every opportunity to market their work. 

“I encourage you to exploit all opportunities available to market your artforms locally, while at the same time, making yourselves aware of all the knowledge and information that can help you to export your talents and skills to other countries. You need to research the opportunities which may be garnered through technical programmes like my Ministry’s Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, and through local funding agencies like Fund Access and the Trust Loans Fund, which can all assist you in developing your own businesses through training, marketing and accounting support and financial resources,” he stated.

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