Message from the Prince of Wales
“It is a great pleasure to be able to mark International Youth Day, an occasion which is immensely close to my heart. Today gives us all an opportunity to celebrate the incredible achievements of young people and, additionally, allows us to reflect on the impact that recent years have had on the younger generation.
In terms of the adversities they have faced, it is remarkable to see the resilience and ambition young people continue to show in the face of unprecedented global challenges.
“It gives me great personal pride to reflect on the stories of the young people I have met through the work of my Prince’s Trust. Over the past forty-six years, The Prince’s Trust group of charities has helped well over one million young people in more than twenty countries to build better futures for themselves.
“And yet many more young people continue to need our support, having endured vastly challenging events in recent years. From the impact of a public health crisis, and now a cost-of-living challenge, to the threat of climate change, there has been much to erode the hope of the younger generation”.
“It is time for us all to come together to support the world’s future workforce. From decades of experience in the United Kingdom, and now across the Commonwealth and beyond, my Trust has demonstrated that, by investing in the potential of young people, society and a circular, green economy based on harmony with Nature will feel the positive benefits for years to come.
“I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who is already supporting young people around the world. But most of all, I want to show my appreciation of what the younger generation can achieve.
It is particularly important that you know your resilience is respected, your determination is admired and that our commitment to you is clear, in order to give you all the chance you deserve”.
Founded by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and building on four decades of experience in the UK, Prince’s Trust International delivers employability, education and enterprise programmes in over 17 countries. The charity has been working in Barbados since 2016. Its education, employability and enterprise programmes have supported over 2,000 young people with their transition to the workforce and interest in entrepreneurship.
Prince’s Trust International has so far worked with partners including the Barbados Police Service, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Barbados Youth Business Trust and, most recently, the Barbados Youth ADVANCED Corp and Supreme Counselling for Personal Development. Initiatives include the Team, Get Hired, Enterprise and Enterprise Challenge programmes, which work to increase confidence and skills to move young people towards employment and self-employment, and Vibe Check, a chatbot-based service helping young people to improve their confidence and manage feelings.
Recently, the organisation has launched new research which highlights ‘An Upskill Struggle’ for many young people on their journey from education to the workplace. The report encompasses a YouGov survey of 10,000 young people and focus groups across 12 countries.
The impact of Covid-19 continues to affect young people: 43 per cent say that the pandemic negatively affected their current work, education or training, compared to 47 per cent last year. Of the young people surveyed, 48 per cent say the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health, 19 per cent were unable to continue their studies, 26 per cent could not continue their employment, and 44 per cent say their income had been affected.
A focus group participant in Barbados spoke about the impact of the pandemic on their livelihood, saying “now hotels that I have played at before, where I would have previously had the opportunity to fit gigs into my school schedule, are now restricting entertainment to only dinner. So, the opportunities for the number of persons that can be hired are significantly less and that has affected me personally because it was one of my main income earners”.
As the global economy evolves, new job opportunities are being created and young people are responding to this: around 7 in 10 young people highlighted an interest in green and digital jobs.
Of the young people surveyed, 75% are interested in setting up their own business. As one young person from Barbados said in a focus group, “a lot of the people have said that I work well, but just working for somebody else, that is not me”.
Young people need support in developing the skills required for the workplace, but they also said they need opportunities to secure employment. One of the focus group participants in Barbados noted that “the way things are at the moment, you would invest time, energy and money. Then, as is the norm with a lot of the fields we have right now, it turns out to be a waste of time because you still don’t find a job”.
Prince’s Trust International aims to further expand its programmes in Barbados, alongside work in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the Eastern Caribbean, to ensure that many more young people can develop employability and enterprise skills, and that opportunities are created for these young people to succeed. (PR)