Representatives from the Barbados and Dominica Youth Business Trusts, Junior Achievement Bahamas, and other agencies have joined with Secretariat organizers as well as executives from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment and the National Entrepreneurial Development Division (NEDD) in St. Kitts for the 26-29 October workshop.
CARICOM’s Deputy Program Manager responsible for youth affairs, Dr. Heather Johnson said that the sessions, being held at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort, are designed to develop a short, practical and hands on training module to equip “at risk” or vulnerable youth with entrepreneurial norms, values and basic business skills.
As such, participants are establishing the regional context for youth risk and vulnerability and for youth entrepreneurial development; and reviewing existing training materials. This task is considered extremely important given the findings of the 2010 Report of the CARICOM Commission on Youth Development (CCYD), which noted that youth unemployment levels throughout the Region are among the highest in the world.
In accepting the Report, Heads of Government declared that youth entrepreneurial development is critical in countering youth unemployment, mitigating drug abuse, crime and violence and fostering economic resilience.
“The Community sees its role as institutional strengthening and capacity development, with particular emphasis on forming strategic private/public sector and civil society partnerships as well as facilitating Regional policy coordination and programme harmonization,” Dr. Johnson revealed. She thanked the participants for their hard work over the past few days and explained that the module and collaborative process will foster a culture of entrepreneurship as more young people prepare to capitalize on the opportunities of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
The CARICOM Youth Entrepreneurship Material Development Workshop is a follow up activity to a Second Chance project that was piloted in the Bahamas, Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis last year. This project included a skills training and alternative dispute resolution component and was implemented by the CARICOM Youth Ambassador Programme.