Underprivileged youths complete skills training

Stabroek News
October 5, 2000

Twenty-nine underprivileged youths recently benefited from a six-month training programme which will gear them for employment and higher learning institutions.

The programme, formerly run by the Guyana National Service (GNS) which now comes under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports sought persons from underprivileged homes and consisted mainly of those who had not completed the formal school system. The non- residential course was conducted at the Sophia Training Centre.

Some of the participants in the programme received their certificates on Monday at the Guyana National Service Sports Complex where Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Gail Teixeira delivered the feature address.

In his report, Director of the Programme, Sydney Scott, said the programme was the fourth of its kind. The first two were funded and sponsored by the Social Impact Amelioration Programme (SIMAP), while the other two were funded by allocations for the GNS.

The programme provided youths with skills in the areas of catering, office procedure and refrigeration.

According to Scott, the primary objective of the training was that at the end of the programme graduates would be empowered to exercise the options of seeking employment, pursuing further studies or starting their own small business.

To be selected for the programme students must be between the ages of 16 and 25; drop outs from the formal school system due to illness, pregnancy or depressed economic circumstances; part of single-parent households; without access to any self-development programmes; be unattached youths who completed formal schooling but had no access to immediate employment through lack of skills.

The director explained that the content of the programme was built into two bi-monthly tests, consistent hands-on practical work followed by one final test.

In brief remarks, Teixeira said that the programme provided new opportunities for youths who were not so fortunate and gave them hope for the future. She admonished the youths not to stop at the graduation but to continue as the world demanded more skills and at least a sound secondary school education. Speaking to the few parents present the minister said that it was critical that youths had the support of parents or family members. Teixeira disclosed that plans were underway to hold the programme twice a year and it was hoped that it would soon be taken to New Amsterdam, Essequibo and Linden.

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