The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth today unveiled plans to expand its Endless Possibilities programme as it declared the initiative, now in its fourth year, a success.
Minister Stephen Lashley boasted that the programme developed the relevant life skills of unemployed youth deemed at risk, provided job placements for them and helped to restore their confidence and direction.
A total of 25 graduates in the third cohort of the five-month programme received their certificates at a ceremony at the Ministry as this year’s 34 participants took the oath of commitment.
“Some of the successes include that those persons with vulnerabilities prior to entering the programme have gone on to secure permanent employment in Barbados. At the personal level, we have seen the pre-test and the post-test assessment of participants showing a positive change in behaviour and overall attitude towards life, and their responsibilities as citizens,” Lashley reported.
He also noted that the participants have also developed the skills to cope with issues of anger, verbal abuse, low self-esteem, poor communication skills, and inadequate interpersonal skills.
As a result of the success, the Minister said the programme, which targets youth between the ages of 16 and 24, would be taken to a higher level with the continued support of the private sector.
“We are working on the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Barbados Private Sector Association and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and that (MOU) will identify a realistic fixed number of placements that can be facilitated on an annual basis,” he said.
Additionally, the Ministry is also moving to provide equal access to students from the Learning Centre and the Challenor Arts and Creative Centre.
“We feel strongly that the opportunity should not only be extended to able bodied young people but to persons who are challenged either mentally or physically. We believe that as a society we have to create the foundation and the pillars upon which we can create equal opportunity for all of our young people,” Lashley said.
Vincent Smith, the most outstanding student of the programme, walked away with the Minister’s Award.