Some 105 young persons will be participating in the apprenticeship program of the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn announced that the apprenticeship program is a realization of Government’s understanding that in order for the Virgin Islands to maintain a relevant and vibrant economy opportunities need to be provided to prepare the youths to take care of the Territory’s future.
Hon. Walwyn said that the community must realize that if investments such as the apprenticeship program are not made for the development of young people, the BVI will be short-changing itself from the vitality, ambition, imagination, and genius that resides in its youths.
“Studies show that young persons with a sense of purpose, preparedness and access to opportunities for both further education and work, are less likely to engage in negative behaviour that can have adverse effects on their future prospects as well as the communities in which they live. So in short ladies and gentlemen, we have no choice, but to provide opportunities for our youth to develop in order for the country that we love to remain a vibrant place to live, work and do business,” the Education Minister noted.
Premier, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith announced that through this Apprenticeship programme Government expects that youth unemployment will be reduced as more unemployed young people will improve their skills and find fulfilling and permanent jobs.
The programme, he said, will also help to prepare young men and women for working life. Hon. Smith said that the apprenticeship program will help youths develop positive work habits, and understand the expectations of employers. Furthermore, Hon. Smith said that through mentorship and working with skilled professionals, young people will in turn develop their leadership abilities.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering stated that the apprenticeship program – which is a collaborative effort – will help promote training for young persons so that they may have the qualifications and competences to enjoy fruitful lives.
Program Coordinator, Mr. Albert Wheatley told the gathering that the apprenticeship program has truly made a big difference in the lives of the youths who have participated. “It is very interesting the diversity of the group that comes through the program. Will we be able to help all, no; but we will be able to help some…We must give our young people an opportunity…Some don’t know how to sell themselves,” he said.