$100M Sophia facility to train at risk youths

Georgetown, GINA, June 20, 2016

 At risk youths will benefit from a new training facility currently under construction in Sophia, according to Assistant Director of Youth, Department of Culture Youth and Sport of the Ministry of Education, Leslyn Boyce.

Boyce told the Government Information Agency (GINA) that the new training centre, that is a $100M project, is being built. “We started phase one in our last budget. We are at phase two and that work would commence shortly, so we would be spending another $25M from this budget.” Phase one of the construction was started in the last quarter of 2015, and cost $15M.

Assistant Director of Youth,  Leslyn Boyce

Assistant Director of Youth, Leslyn Boyce

Boyce said Sophia was chosen for this intervention because it  “… is one of the National Service centres so they decided to turn it into a training centre for those persons who are more  at risk and less fortunate, because most times you find persons who want to go to the Government Technical Institute (GTI) or whatever institutions. I think the genesis of the Youth Entrepreneurship Training (YEST) programme is to more or less capture those young people who are not so academically inclined.”

The facility will be built to establish Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) standards and equipped with updated tools and equipment, Boyce said. When completed, the new facility will house youths being trained as part of the YEST programme, she added.

The Assistant Director pointed out that the two- storeyed facility will house classrooms for four skill areas, namely, catering, plumbing and sheet metal, masonry and welding and fabrication.

Meanwhile more than 100 youths are currently undergoing training at the Sophia Training Centre in the areas of electrical installation, refrigeration, air conditioning, masonry, and catering and information technology.

Boyce said the YEST programme serves as a safety net for high risk young people in Sophia and the nearby communities, and is of six months duration. “We found that the young people do not have the finance more or less to continue training or even to start even if they want to, so we at the Sophia institution, we provide $4000 per month stipend to help with their passage and we offer them a hot meal every day, to encourage them to stay on the programme for the six months,” Boyce stated.

YEST aims to train at risk youths in several skills area to make them work ready for the job market.