Programmes established to propel youth development Guyana Chronicle
June 16, 2002

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THE government, through the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, has coordinated several programmes to propel youth development to the next level.

The programmes, which will assist or play a major role in making youths better adults, as well as provide opportunities for them to lead successful lives, are geared at fulfilling the National Development Strategy’s prediction that the choices and opportunities for young people in the period 2001-2010 would be significantly improved.

The projects are likely to be facilitated through the Residential Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST) programme and the Sophia non-residential training programme for youths between the ages of 16 and 25. These programmes expose youths to training in masonry, carpentry, electrical installation, information technology and lots more.

YEST is extended to all ten administrative Regions of Guyana, and to the surprise of many, greater response came from the interior Regions.

Both of these programmes provide a stipend as well as work attachment with various organisations. They are also integrally linked to the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED).

Specialisation is not discriminatory and does not marginalise, but rather provides opportunity for a larger number of persons to participate in the opportunities provided in the society. Specialisation more commonly known as skills training prepares persons for the diverse and newer facets of work which have descended on us through development. The direction taken by the Ministry to be a pioneer of skills training makes available more opportunities for the youths of today, as well as makes them more marketable.

The skills training programme has already churned out over 500 skilled graduates. About 142 are expected to graduate from the programme this year. Recruitment for 2002-2003 has already begun. During the last recruitment, some 700 applications were received from youths across the country.

The revised New Opportunity Corps is another fine example of efforts to develop the potential and provide opportunities for youths despite their circumstances. The National Poverty Strategy Paper prioritises the imparting of skills, where Government will work in collaboration with the Private Sector to provide training for youths with primary or secondary education only.

In the three-year life span of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, a very vigorous and challenging programme, the President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana (PYARG) was introduced.

It is geared towards widening the knowledge base and practical skills of young people across the country, regardless of race, religion, sex, political affiliation or mental ability, and provides skills for life.

Another impressive programme facilitated by the Ministry is the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) which promotes the Regional and Pan-Commonwealth Youth Service Awards, and provides opportunities for the execution of sustainable innovative programmes at the community level.

Then there is the National Youth Commission, which comprises a representative group of young people from every Administrative Region of Guyana, to keep the Minister informed on matters of interest to youths. The Commission is presently revising the policy document for youths (1992-1993) with the intention of having it reflect the needs of the country’s young people.

A significant portion of the work has been accomplished in identifying areas of importance that should be included in the document. Some of these are health, with special focus on STD’s, drug abuse and alcohol, nutrition and educational opportunities. The Commission is hoping to have this document finalised by the end of this year and it will provide an energetic five-year policy for the country’s young people.

This body feels that youths around the country should also have an opportunity to make valuable contributions.

The Youth Ambassadorship programme is another excellent opportunity for the development of young persons.

The development of youths is a continuing and national programme. (Michelle Johnson)