The Barbados Youth Service 2016 graduation ceremony was a showpiece of excellence as dozens of young people received certificates for outstanding performances in training that gave them a better shot at life.
The majority of the 60 males and 20 females who enrolled in the one-year developmental programme in September 2015, paraded into the Radisson Aquatica Resort conference room Saturday to be commended by Ministry of Sports and Youth Permanent Secretary Ruth Blackman and to hear programme director Hally Haynes boast of the encouraging work of the graduating class.
Blackman said of BYS’ significance to the unemployed school leavers between the ages of 16 and 22: “For some, it has been the last stop to realizing their dreams, as everything else tried has failed.”
She spoke of the determination needed to enter and complete the programme, and said the 67 graduands had shown their tenacity “to complete the journey, thereby fulfilling the goals they set for themselves”.
Reporting on the academic achievements of his charges, Haynes said that because of the BYS’ “one-to-one approach”, the agency managed to reduced the normal two-year preparation span for CXC subjects to one, and 71 per cent of those who signed up for the exams achieved pass marks.
“Five of the seven who sat Electronic Document Preparation and Management – four males and one female – were successful. . . . Four of these received Grade 2s,” he said.
Two others gained pass grades in Visual Arts Examination and the five who sat the Information Technology examination all passed.
“In 2015, we recorded a 58 per cent pass rate, and this year we recorded a 71 per cent pass rate, an improvement of 13 per cent,” Haynes added.
The director indicated BYS recognized that all students were not capable of cramming a two-year course into the one-year training at the BYS and the agency extended tuition time to some graduates beyond the course module, so they could be prepared for the regional tests.
“To this end, please be advised that 24 graduands – 16 males and eight females – from this graduating class are registered to sit subjects in the January 2017 CXC examinations.”
Haynes reported that of these formerly untrained young people graduating Saturday, nine are now enrolled in the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, one at the Barbados Vocational Training Board, and another at the Barbados Community College.
“The statistics indicate that the trainees successfully completed the First Aid, Firefighting and Water Safety Modules, gaining the requisite certification,” the director said.
“Sixty-four trainees – 46 males and 18 females – or 98.5 per cent of the trainees from the September 2015 intake, successfully completed the Barbados Coast Guard First Aid Practical Module. Fifty-three trainees – 36 males and 17 females – or 81.5 per cent . . . successfully completed the Barbados Coast Guard First Aid Theory Module.
“Sixty-five trainees – 47 males and 18 females – or 100 per cent of the trainees . . . successfully completed the Barbados Coast Guard Firefighting Practical and Theory Modules,” he added.
Along with involvement in sports and extensive training in creative arts, which led to participation in NIFCA, the young people did work study assignments through job attachments at public and private sector agencies.
Four graduands gained full time employment as a result of their performance at the job attachment programmes, and extensions were granted to two, Haynes reported.
He also said that owing to attachments with the Barbados Defence Force, some of trainees were given the option of enlisting in the military.