The Pinelands Creative Workshop remains committed to critically developing Barbadian students through its Career and Life Management (CALM) Programme.
The two-week programme, which began on June 19 and will end on June 29, is now in its 19th year and targets fourth and fifth form secondary school students as they prepare to transition into the world of work.
Yesterday, a conference was held under the theme “Leadership and Influencing Change” as part of the overall programme in which 25 students from The St Michael School, Parkinson Memorial School, Lester Vaughan School, Daryll Jordan Secondary School and Springer Memorial School are participating.
CEO of Pinelands Creative Workshop Sophia Greaves-Broome said students were taught the soft skills needed for professional development to survive in a competitive job market. Employers have found that though equipped with academic and technical skills, prospective employees struggle with problem solving, leadership ability and overall deportment.
A study by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (SALISES) in 2007 and a Rapid Assessment Study of 2011 both found that males and females between the ages of 15 and 24 were most “at risk”. The barriers to employment include poor work ethic, lack of marketable skills and work experience.
“Understanding this . . . makes today’s session critical to the development of our youth and an investment in the kind of quality personnel that we all want to meet and engage with,” Greaves-Broome said.
Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Colin Jordan encouraged the students to be open to lifelong learning because the future was uncertain.
“All of you, regardless of where you’ve come from or where your parents have come from, or your current situation, all of you can be leaders. All of you can be change agents,” he urged.
Jordan pledged his Government’s support to the development of people, with a special focus on youth as they are the wealth of the nation.
“Given Barbados’ small economy and few natural resources, the government must continue to invest in the people who will drive economic prosperity,” he said.
The minister made mention of the introduction of a National First Jobs Initiative geared towards providing young people between the ages of 16 and 25 with valuable work experience. Plans are also under way to form a Social Justice Committee with a mandate of keeping people at the centre. (KW)