Against a backdrop of what he described as a high number of uncertified school-leavers and few employment opportunities, St James North Member of Parliament Edmund Hinkson has advised constituency youngsters to seek vocational training.
Hinkson passed on this advice yesterday to a group of 25 young under-employed, or unemployed youngsters, gathered in the Weston Community Centre, St James, for an introduction session to the training opportunities available at the Barbados Vocational Training Board.
He told them of the difficulties in reaching a comfortable standard of living without qualifications gained at a recognized institution.
“That is the reality of Barbados . . . it doesn’t have to be an academic certificate, though we would like you to have English, Maths and at least two more CXCs.
“But we live in a real world, a practical world. Not everyone is going to have the academic ability to get that.
“A lot of young people leave school without school-leaving certification.
“We know that it is almost 50 per cent of children who leave secondary school at age 16, 17 without any CXCs, or if they do, they only have one or two,” the Opposition Barbados Labour Party shadow minister for education said.
However, he told the gathering, “[It] isn’t the end of the world. You can learn a skill – tiling, plumbing, electrical, mechanics. You could be a seamstress, a repairer of fridges, Bobcat operator. And you can lead a better quality life, make more money to support your family, the children that some of you all have already and most of you all will have at some time.”
This is the second year that the Clarkson Foundation, a non-profit organisation run by Hinkson, has put on the event.
Hinkson told the young people that despite under-performing at school, the BVTB skills training courses, “would still make you be able to live a good life, decent life, and of course a law-abiding life.
However, he warned that, “common sense and judgment is a major part of life, not only academic ability”.