Two hundred and eighty young men and women who successfully graduated from eleven skills training modules are now more valuable to Dominica’s workforce.
The Youth Development Division held its 39th graduation ceremony on Wednesday at the Arawak House of Culture to officially release their charges into the professional world.
The training modules offered computer literacy, hospitality arts, computer maintenance, building maintenance, sewing and home electronics repair among others in the communities of Roseau, Portsmouth, Marigot, Wesley, Grand Fond, Castle Bruce, Grand Bay and La Plaine.
Hon. Ambrose George who represented the Hon. Prime Minister said that the Youth Skills Training Programme continues to serve the purpose it was mandated to fill forty years ago.
According to the Minister, the programme is part of Government’s efforts to enable the island’s youth.
“The youth Skills Training Programme is but one of the actions that flow from Government’s policy to create opportunities for every Dominican to develop to the fullest, his god-given potential for living a productive and fulfilling life.
That policy seeks to establish a caring and nurturing environment for pre-school right through to the primary, secondary and tertiary levels,” he said.
Acting Minister for Youth Affairs, Hon. Kelver Darroux who is a past graduate himself told the graduates that they should not keep their newfound knowledge to themselves.
“I always say that when you are doing something positive and having learnt something new, it makes no sense to keep it to yourself. You must be able to transfer that knowledge and education to improving the lives of others.”
Hon. Darroux urged them to now go out and find other young people who can benefit from the Youth Skills Training Programme as well.
“You now have to become a missionary. Go out there and advocate on behalf of the programme. Go into the nooks and crannies of your communities and tell the young people there what the Youth Development Division has to offer. If it means that you have to get the registration forms for them, do that. If it also means you have to bring them to the Youth Development Division’s office, do that. Play your part to make a difference in the life of another young person.”
As part of the graduation ceremony, Chief Youth Development Officer, Jules Pascal delivered the findings of a study conducted to determine the effectiveness of the Youth Skills Programme.
Pascal said that the programme is making a significant difference in the lives of young people on the island.
“I report today that the study has been completed and the findings seem to indicate that sixty percent of the 562 persons who were traced were engaged in some form of employment since the completion of their training. While this overall figure is encouraging, the statistics are more impressive for the individual modules. This is more relevant to the computer maintenance, arc welding, plumbing and construction modules which indicated the overall employment rate average of seventy-five percent and I say that is good.”
Pascal reported further that, “of those who were not employed, seventeen per cent claimed that they had no success in finding jobs and five per cent needed further training. The findings also revealed that forty per cent of those trained believe that they have benefitted from the skills training programme in the areas of personal development, skills development and enhanced employability.”
He commended those students who made good use of their training opportunity.
“Many of our past graduates continue to do well on the jobs that they have found, and that is an encouragement to us at the Youth Development Division, more so the Skills Training Programme. So we would like to applaud all the skills training graduates who continue to excel and demonstrate a high level of commitment to their jobs,” he said.
Mr. Pascal who has served Dominica’s youth for decades was acknowledged for his invaluable contribution to the Youth Skills Training Programme.
Kersha Floissac shared her impressions of the Roseau computer literacy course of which she was a student.
She testified, “This course taught me how to better communicate with people and better understand my classmates. It prepared me for the working world and for life at home.”
She spoke to potential participants of a few benefits to be had from the Youth Skill Training Programme.
“The programme will not only teach you basic computer skills to introduce you to the working world but it also teaches you self-respect, self-motivation, self-esteem and effective communication among other qualities,” she said.
Permanent and part-time employment has been obtained by a number of the participants. Some are currently employed at various public and private institutions.