As some young people transform from the IMANI programme into the HOPE programme, the Ministry of Youth is seeking to engage 500 young men for the launch of a new programme.
Called “Empower”, the ministry will be engaging young men from the ages of 18 to 35 under the apprenticeship type initiative to help provide them with the skills needed for survival in the world of work.
Aspects of the programme were unveiled by Parliamentary Secretary for Youth and Religious Affairs, Senator Pamela Moses while speaking at a sitting of the Upper House at the Trade Centre on the Empower programme.
She said the move is intended by the Keith Mitchell-led government to increase by 20% the male population in the youth programme.
“Young men who need a second chance, young men who need someone to believe in them, young men who need a helping hand, someone to help them face and cope with all the challenges of life and so it is our hope to provide them with the tools that (are) needed so that they can have another chance at life with tools that also needed to start a business”, she told the Senate.
“This group of young men, all 500 of them would be engaged in a programme that’s a little different from the traditional IMANI programme. The life skills courses would be more fun engaging, more practical, very, very practical life skills programme,” she said.
According to Sen. Moses, the main aspect of the programme will be the apprenticeship programme, that will allow these young males to save money from their stipend in preparation for a small business loan.
She said the hope of government is that these young male adults “would learn the skills of a trade as has been done traditionally”.
“…Many of our very experienced Mechanics, many of our very experienced Cooks, our very experienced Farmers, Carpenters, Construction Workers, Landscapers, they learnt their skill by working along with someone. So, we would be doing an apprenticeship type programme…these young men would have an opportunity to save $100 from their stipend that would go towards a loan at the end. We can match it with a loan, so that they can use it to purchase tools, equipment, so that they themselves can be employable…”, she added.
Sen. Moses said the NNP regime would like these young people to make “sound choices” in shaping their careers for life.
“A young man should have a choice to make and decide whether he should rob someone’s produce on their farm or plant it himself; whether he should rob his neighbour or offer the services of the skills that you have learnt, and so get money from that labour to function and to do what he has to do in order to survive.
“At the end of it all, basically we want to empower our young males, make them feel good about themselves, give them the skills that are needed to survive.
The programme will run for a year and is expected to be launched soon.