Entrepreneurship programme helping to combat high youth unemployment in SVG
Permanent Secretary in the Youth Affairs Ministry in St. Vincent of the Grenadines, Nerissa Gittens, is of the opinion that an entrepreneurship programme currently being implemented in her country by the CARICOM Secretariat and partners can help to combat high youth unemployment in her country.
Ms. Gittens, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Social Development, The Family, Gender, Persons with Disabilities, and Youth Affairs was speaking at the opening of a Training of Trainers Creativity for Empowerment and Business Opportunity (CEBO) at the Beachcombers Hotel on Tuesday.
According to the Permanent Secretary, the latest statistics have revealed that youth accounted for 26% of the population in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and that demographic had the highest unemployment rate. She said that was a problem for this group that needed to be addressed. She also lamented that there was a lot of tokenism given to youth and that persons said the right thing when they thought it was the right time with the right people listening, but no tangible action was taken. She told the youngsters that the reason they were at the workshop was for some of those challenges to be addressed.
“With a lot of assistance through CARICOM, we are here to work on how we can help our young people to help themselves,” she said.
She said she was expecting the participants to be better individuals at the end of the workshop and that the information they got would be taken back to other youth and shared with them.
Deputy Programme Manager, Gender and Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Ms. Ann Marie Williams, who also spoke at the workshop explained that the workshop was designed to engage, inspire and create entrepreneurial interest and action among young CARICOM citizens, whether in, or out of school.
She also told participants that skills they would acquire during the workshop were expected to help them to figure out what kinds of small businesses they wanted to set up. She explained further that at the end of the week, they would be plying their trade along the byways of St. Vincent’s capital, Kingstown.
“In short, you will learn to become an entrepreneur. But, that’s not the end, you will have to transfer those same skills and knowledge to a huge cross-section of youth in practical and youth-friendly ways,” Ms Williams said.
The CARICOM Secretariat has worked in collaboration with Member States and development partners to implement the CEBO Programme since the project was first piloted. The Governments of Italy, Japan and Spain, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have provided support for the Programme.
Assistance for this new phase of the project has been given by the European Union via funding through the 10th Economic Development Fund (EDF). The workshop in St. VIncent and the Grenadines is scheduled to conclude on Saturday 19 October 2019.