Pinelands Creative Workshop (PCW) yesterday relaunched what was formerly known as its Personal Development Programme under a new name.
The rebranded Career & Life Management (CALM) Programme, delivered at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus, has for the past 16 years exposed senior secondary school students to the skills necessary to transition to the world of work. The emphasis is on things like office etiquette, attitude and customer service, as well as professionalism and efficiency in the workplace.
PCW chief executive officer Rodney Grant told Barbados TODAY the programme had come out of a poverty study done of the labour market.
“The problem with the youth is not that they don’t have the skills, like the academic skills, but they lack the soft skills to keep a job,” Grant stated.
He said there had been great feedback to the programme, especially from employers who had hired students.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands urged participating students to seize all available opportunities. He noted there were no programmes like CALM 40 years ago for secondary students about to leave school and enter the world of work.
“We face incredible challenges right now, but there are also incredible opportunities,” Husbands said, emphasizing that such opportunities would not just fall into the laps of students, but would come about through incredibly
Husbands also encouraged this year’s participants of the programme to think globally rather than limit themselves to working only in Barbados and the region.
On the topic of Caribbean Vocational Qualifications (CVQs), Husbands told students to add various extracurricular activities to their CVQs, making themselves more marketable for future jobs.
Knowledge of mathematics, a science and a foreign language would also be beneficial post-secondary school, he said.
Chief project officer of The Maria Holder Memorial Trust, Jane Armstrong, told the students their partnership with the PWC programme fell within a wider educational project called Youth Beyond Expectations.
“Education is a key focus in our funding,” she said, mentioning the trust’s six nursery schools programme which would commence September, 2016, with the establishment of the first school in Gall Hill, Christ Church.
The two-week CALM programme involves 27 students drawn from six secondary schools, including Parkinson Memorial Secondary, Lester Vaughan Secondary and The St Michael School.