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BEC help for 30 at-risk teens

LISA KING, [email protected]

BEC help for 30 at-risk teens

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Thirty secondary schoolchildren, identified as “at risk”, should be better able to transition from school to the world of work thanks to a Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC) initiative.

Fourth and fifth form students from eight secondary schools and one cosmetology school were recently involved in exercises covering workplace etiquette, coping with failure, CV building and interviewing skills, finance in business, steps to starting a business venture, and assimilation. They also learnt about sexually transmitted infections.

The exercises were part of the BEC’s Securing The Workforce Of The Future workshop held at United Nations House in Hastings, Christ Church.

Labour management officer with the BEC, Kara Sealy, who coordinated the workshop, said there were at-risk students who were usually seen in society as not progressing, or able to progress into what was called the average role.

“Because of that, we did not want them to leave school thinking that they cannot be integrated into the workforce,” she said.

The workshop was designed to encompass a wide range of topics, Sealy said, but one important component was showing the children how they could use the subject areas they were good at to start a business.

She said since the programme started five years ago, they had seen a lot of success stories, including one student of the Ann Hill School who loved craft and was able to start a business making shoes after graduating from the programme.

Sealy said the programme enabled the students to be the best fit for any vacancy in their chosen line of work.

“The BEC is therefore seeking to change the behaviours of students to foster the transition out of the at-risk category, thereby limiting the possibility of higher unemployment rates,” she said.

Every year, participants also gain internships at local businesses. (LK)