More than four hundred and fifty additional youth in Region 9 to be empowered through HEYS Program.

An estimated two hundred million dollars will be pumped into twenty six indigenous village economies in Region 9 over the next year as the second phase of the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) Program is set to roll out.

The second phase was launched Monday last in St. Ignatius Village, Region 9.

Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs Valerie Garrido-Lowe during the launch emphasized to the more than forty facilitators who will be imparting their knowledge and skill to the youth in the region, to give of their best since this will be paramount to the success of the program.

“This training will teach you to deliver the program in a youth friendly way so as to keep the interest of the young adults. Encourage them … what I am trying to tell you is that the training you are getting here as HEYS facilitators, is not for you to be a strait jacket job. You have to give more, you have to put your heart into this, you have to care that the youth learns at the end of seven months”.

The HEYS program is offering to the youth, six core areas of training in Concentrated Language Experience, Agriculture, Eco-Tourism, Life Skills, Capacity Building and Entrepreneurship as well as six vocational skill areas in Carpentry and Joinery, Garment Construction, Information Technology, Auto Mechanic/Small Engine Repair, Electrical Installation and Catering.

Minister Garrido-Lowe said these key areas of focus will ensure youth are equipped with the necessary tools in becoming independent.

“HEYS is a stepping stone for those who need a second chance in life….HEYS is for that young mother, maybe she is married or maybe just living in a common law relationship, and maybe she is not seeing a good future ahead and does not know how to contribute to better their lives, HEYS is for her; HEYS is for the young man who dropped out of school for one reason or the other and now has realized that he needs that second chance; HEYS is for the youth who wrote CXC subjects and somehow did not pass all so he wants to continue developing himself. HEYS is about preparing you to be your own boss, to establish your own small businesses, so that you can earn for yourselves. HEYS is about developing your communities and preparing yourselves for leadership positions.”

According to the Minister “HEYS is about bringing income into the community by utilizing not through the youth alone but by using the communities resources, human resources, like retired teachers like skilled persons in craft or any other field. We want you from your village to facilitate the classes in your village, and when we do that, you as a facilitator get a chance to earn sixty five thousand dollars for seven months”.

Region Nine Chairman Brian Allicock during his presentation challenged facilitators, youth and villages to capitalize on the opportunity afforded since it has the potential to stimulate significant developments in the region.

“Money is being spent to develop us so take it and don’t let me hear about any drop outs,…you are given another opportunity to extend yourselves and sometimes we find that those who didn’t get the opportunity do better than those who had all the schooling because they dedicate themselves to what they want in life, so you own your skills it is yours and no one can take it from you so continue the program and I hope that you will do very well”, the Regional Chairman opined.

Youth and facilitators from nineteen villages from Region 9 will be involved in the second phase of the program which will see an estimated thirteen million dollars circulating in the respective villages on a monthly basis which amounts to an estimated two hundred million dollars at the end of the calendar year.

Similar launches were held in Kamarang in Region 7 and Mabaruma in Region 1 over the past week as the program targets another two thousand youth, taking the figure to close to four thousand since the program was rolled out in 2015.

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