World Youth Skills Day, observed annually on July 15th, focuses on the strategic importance of equipping youths with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
World Youth Skills Day, 2021, will celebrate the resilience and creativity of our Vincentian youths throughout the crisis of not only the pandemic, but the 2021 volcanic eruptions. Youths are called to reflect on skills needed in our current markets and skills that would be needed in the future. It is important to look at how the TVET sector has adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing recessions in many countries. TVET institutions must aid in recovery efforts and imagine priorities they should adopt for the post COVID-19 world.
The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), this country’s TVET apex body was established in 2010 and its Secretariat, the National Qualifications Department (NQD), is doing its part in ensuring that the labour market is fully equipped with trained persons to function in a post COVID environment. As such, the department continues to oversee the training and certification of youth and adults across the island. Currently, full-time programmes are being pursued at the four (4) Technical Institutes on island in a plethora of National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) programme offerings. These include established sectors such as Hospitality and Construction as well as emerging labour markets such as Personal and Creative Industries and Security Services. Training programmes are expanding to the Grenadines; specifically on Union Island and Bequia. Training Providers have been using the blended approach to learning to ensure more graduates are armed with the skills necessary for the twenty first century.
The Skills for Youth Employment (SKYE) grant funding under UK Aid programme is underway in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. SKYE seeks to train and certify 990 youths aged 15-30, to improve their employability in sectors where there is a demand for skilled workers. SKYE has partnered with the Technical Institutes, the Department of Adult and Continuing Education (DACE), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, Division of Technical and Vocational Education as well as Private Training Providers to offer full-time and part-time programmes.
The Youth and Adult Training for Employment (YATE) programme falls under the 10.7-million-dollar project funded by the World Bank under the Human Development and Service Delivery (HDSD) project. This project is designed to provide training for vulnerable, unemployed youth and adults aged 17 – 45 in a variety of skill areas and gain certification at Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) levels 1 and 2.
Entrepreneurship has been at the heart of all skills programmes offered in Saint Vincent and will continue to be post pandemic. Many youths have begun lucrative businesses while still in training in areas such as Cake baking and Decorating, Garment Construction and Agro-food Processing to name a few. We are confident that after COVID-19, skills will be the linchpin to economic sustainability for present and future jobs.
SOURCE: Ministry of Education