For the past two years, the Barbados Youth Service has seen more applications than it can handle.
And Director, Hally Haynes says it’s a matter the current restructuring is expected to deal with, but in the meantime, they have been referring young people to other developmental programmes.
Haynes told Barbados TODAY that for the last two intakes they had seen a huge jump in the number of applications the service was receiving, but he explained that before there were two intakes per year which would allow them to take more students.
Now however, he noted that there was just one yearly intake of 80 persons, which perhaps contributed to the increase. He clarified as well that when there was a shift in unemployment and other factors, there was a corresponding jump in the numbers that would come into the service.
“A lot of young people who don’t get back into school and that sort of thing would come and apply to the youth service programme,” he stated.
So far this year, with the application process just having closed, the director said they had 137 application, but still only 80 spaces.
“What we tend to do is divert some of them to the Youth Mainstream Programme or Youth Development programmes for the period of time until enrollment rolls around again. If they apply and they do not get in, we tell them to try some of the other developmental programmes, skills training, that kind of thing, and then when the time comes around again, we try to take them back,” said Haynes.
Part of the challenge with the intake system now, he said, was that the facilities they used belonged to the Barbados Cadet Corps which gave them permission once per year for the intake. While the headquarters in Warrens was used for administrative matters, the Cadet Corps base was where they did the physical aspects of the programme.
Haynes said he felt that there was need to look at that structure in particular, something he said he believed was part of the review process currently underway.
“The ministry is reviewing and looking at a way to expand the programme. We know there is a need to expand and that is one of the things we are looking into,” he stated. (LB)