Approximately 400 young persons have transitioned from the IMANI Programme into the HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) programme that is expected to provide permanent employment and higher income.
The 18-month HOPE pilot programme was launched at the Grenada Youth Centre in the presence of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and officials of the Ministry of Youth officials.
With general elections just around the corner, PM Mitchell sought to downplay the timing of the launch involving the nation’s young people by affirming that it is not a political trick by the regime.
“Ours was not the often heard rhetoric that succeeds only scoring short-term political mileage at the expense of the long-term sustainable development of our young people”, he said.
“I hope and pray that not many of you, not anyone will be seeing this as some political initiative of the government to gain votes. If you see it that way then you really don’t belong here. This is about you; this is about your future, and it’s about the future of this nation,” he added.
The HOPE programme, spearheaded by the Ministry of Youth headed by Roland Bhola, is intended to be a step up the ladder for those IMANIS who have excelled as part of their two year training period.
In addressing the Lower House at a recent sitting of Parliament at the Grenada Trade Centre, Minister Bhola explained that there was a delay in the launch of the programme because they had to be sure about the selection process to be employed.
“…As the programme operates we have to look at the numbers. We have just over 3000 people engaged at the moment and there are several thousand more that are waiting in the wings. They have applications but one would appreciate the fact that (this) administration must first ensure that we can find and allocate the revenue to ensure that they receive their stipend and that we can engage sufficient supervisory personnel if we are to take in more (persons) into the programme. Therefore, there must be a scheme in place for us to move people out but not send them back to their homes where they would once again become unemployed youth.
“We have been fortunate that both within the private and the public sectors, some of the trainees have been taken on full time and so they have transition out of the IMANI Programme into now full time employees. However, though there are some that have been performing pretty well and we want to move them to another level which is the HOPE Programme.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth, Senator Pamela Moses encouraged the young people to go the extra mile to achieve success in the programme.
“Being on the job daily and on time is so crucial. It’s so critical to fulfilling this last promise that we have made to you of the chance of permanent employment. The entire ministry, I know that your supervisors, they would expect that of you, do not fail them. You are a member of the HOPE team and you would go out there and you would work proudly and secure for yourselves positions as great Grenadian citizens,” she told the young people.
The official start of the HOPE programme is expected on July 1st through a selection process.