2017:  A year for youth

GINA, GUYANA, Wednesday, January 4, 2016

The Ministry of Education’s Youth Department will move to broaden its training capacity, and expand several other initiatives this year. In the National 2017 Budget, the department was allocated $465.17M to carry out its mandate.

Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael in an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), expressed hope that 2017 will be a successful year. She said in 2016, the foundation was laid to put forward programmes that would effectively benefit young people.

According to Carmichael, the Youth Department will be building youths’ capacity by placing focus in fields other than carpentry, welding and auto mechanic.

In keeping with the government’s drive for a “Green Agenda”, Carmichael said the department will be providing training in areas such as tour guiding and project development. This is expected to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2017.

Some of the participants of a skills training programme engaging in practical works

The Youth Director explained that, “we have museum curator, disaster risk management training, events management and hospitality training; those are just to open our young people’s minds to other things. We are going beyond just cosmetology or regular carpentry or icing or cake making; we want them to explore other areas because of …where the government is taking development for Guyana.”

Additionally, Carmichael noted that the literacy and numeracy programme will be continued in 2017. The programme is expected to be rolled out as early as next week.

“Officers right now should be working on their mobilisation so they know their communities, they know the young people. We mobilise them, and we get them at one of the youth friendly spaces, and we roll out the literacy and numeracy programme,” Carmichael explained.

Another programme scheduled to be rolled out is the Youth Mentorship programme. This programme is anticipated to give students the guidance needed for selecting careers. The programme began with a networking session which was held last October with some Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) students and lawyers who had recently returned from the Hugh Wooding Law School.

The programme is now being streamlined to be introduced in schools. Carmichael noted that the schools’ selection is not yet completed, but pointed out that the Department has already secured 10 mentors and is optimistic that the programme can be started in the new school term.

The Director of Youth stated that, “already a number of persons would have said they are interested in being a mentor. They’re in different areas; they’re in sports, there are persons in teaching, there are persons in medicine, there are persons who are ex-soldiers and policemen.”

As the department looks at giving youths the opportunities needed, the Director of Youth said that it will continue to strengthen its relations

Youths enrolled in the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training Programme

with the Private Sector. Already, some companies have indicated their willingness to hire youths graduating from the various training centres. While the Director of Youth was reluctant to reveal the names of the companies she did indicate that youths leaving training centres such as the one at Kuru Kuru will be able to benefit from the partnership.

“We might not be able to get all of them employed, but we will be able to get at least 10 or 20 from each institution attached to someone within the Private Sector,” the Director stated.

Carmichael also revealed that there will be the launching of the National Youth Policy in the first quarter of this year. The launch is expected to shed light on the functions of the policy and the role of government in putting forward training programmes.

“We are hoping to ensure that persons who worked assiduously to get the policy together, to have them there to present and say to those who have not read it what it entails, and how it will benefit the young people of Guyana,” Carmichael explained.

The Department of Youth, according to Carmichael, has an open door (policy). Its mandate is to serve young people and the Youth Director is urging them (youths) to come forward and access the services available.


By: Isaiah Braithwaite