ROADTOWN Tortola BVI, January 20th, 2012 - Hundreds of unemployed youths, between the ages of 16 to 30, are expected to benefit from a training seminar and job fair next week, a coordinated effort between the Government of the Virgin Islands and the private business sector.
The training and job fair is part of the Youth Unemployed Register (YUR) initiative which was launched in December by the Ministry of Education and Culture attracting over 400 unemployed youth.
At a press conference yesterday, Premier Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE and Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Myron V. Walwyn led the charge to the handful of business owners and a few of the registrants of the YUR present encouraging them to work together to ensure that youth are not only trained and employed, but make a positive contribution towards the development of the Territory.
The Premier in his remarks stated, “Job placement and significantly lowering the unemployment rate are critically important to the sustainability and viability of these Virgin Islands and my Government. It is gratifying that even the youth are represented in this room for we see them with young minds and the potential for the development of this Territory’s future. So we welcome them as a valued partner to assist with finding solutions to this ever-growing problem within the community.”
Hon. Myron Walwyn spoke of the varying levels of skills and personality profiles within the targeted age group but noted that the unemployment plight is far greater than the 490 registrants recorded through the YUR.
“The goal of the training and job fair is not to obtain 100 percent employment, that would be nice but it is not realistic, but we do intend to monitor those that are placed and continually support those who are not,” the Minister noted.
The education minister also spoke specifically about the objective of the training and job fair. “Within the register we find that we have young people at varying levels with a variety of skills. Over the course of next week facilitators will impress the importance of positive attitudes in the workplace, develop personality profiles for registrants to help them identify the best job and career options, workplace communication skills, customer service and job culture.
We have deliberately taken the time to design this training so that we can effectively improve the skills of our registrants before releasing them to perspective employers throughout our business community.”
Training coordinator Albert Wheatley and General Manager from the Long Bay Resort Mr. Vernon Johnson spoke of their commitment to the initiative and encouraged the young people to take advantage of the opportunities afforded to them through the upcoming activities.
The highlight of the press conference was the remarks made by two of the registrants who made a plea to prospective employers for a chance to showcase their abilities. Mr. Jacob Edwards a college graduate with an Associate’s Degree said at first he was anxious to enter into the job market, but suddenly became depressed when his efforts deemed futile. He encouraged all stakeholders to work together as a team to make his dreams and that of his peers a reality.
Makesha Williams a graduate of the Alternative Secondary Education Programme and the top math student of her graduating class said her dream of becoming an accountant is now in the hands of the managers and business owners of the Territory. “Just give us a chance,” she pleaded.
The ten-day training seminar begins on Monday 23rd January at 10:00 a.m. at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College where all of the registrants of the YUR are expected to attend. Following the seminar the coordinators will be in a better position to assess the readiness of the registrants to take up immediate employment and will be supporting them in their efforts.
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