Sixty-two young men and 130 young women were awarded certificates at the 43rd annual Youth Skills Training Program Graduation Ceremony, after undergoing months of training, between February 2015 and April 2016.
The ceremony was held at the Arawak House of Culture, on Wednesday afternoon.
The young people were trained in modules such as cosmetology, computer literacy, electrical wiring, plumbing, wood work, sewing, auto body repair, among others.
According to Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment, Justina Charles, a total of $173,804.99 was “well spent” by government ministries in the purchase of materials for the modules, to provide trainees with fortnightly stipends during training, and to pay instructors.
Charles urged participants to remain focused on their goals.
“Remain focused,” she said. “Do not allow the things that are around you to distract you. While it may look lucrative but there can be consequences that are far-reaching, and can be life-long.”
Acting Youth Skills Training Instructor, Caesarina Paul, stated that the program places emphasis on the holistic development of youth.
“Much emphasis is placed on the holistic formation of our young people. We recognize the importance of life skills and soft skills,” she articulated.
This approach to youth development, she noted, is “the differentiator, and it makes the Youth Skills Training Program a unique brand.”
Paul said that a 2014-2015, study report indicated that 174 graduates from all the youth development districts had been afforded entry-level skills, which have positively impacted their socio-economic circumstances.
Participation by gender during the period indicated 68% female and 32% male. 45% of those traced had gained employment, following completion of their respective training programs.
Meantime, a participant in the Auto Body Repairs program, Kervin Nicholls, encouraged youth to adopt positive attitudes and take advantage of opportunities presented.
“Be consistent, and keep a positive mindset because the change to a better world begins with you… everything positive follows a right attitude,” he said. “Seize any positive opportunities that are created for you.”
During the past 34 years, 7,595 Dominicans have been trained under the Youth Skills Training Program, with an annual average of 223 trained, and average employment generation of 170 persons per annum.