Jordan pushing Jobs Start Plus
Minister of Labour Colin Jordan has appealed to the tourism sector to get involved in Government’s Jobs Start Plus programme aimed at giving unemployed school leavers necessary job experience.
The former chairman of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) issued the challenge to members of that association at the third quarterly general meeting at Hilton Barbados on Wednesday.
He warned “no amount of alarm systems, burglar bars are able to keep you, your guests, me, my family or your family safe from the potential negative outcome” if the thousands of young people leaving school were not given the opportunity to equip themselves with the tools for gainful employment.
Jobs Start Plus is an initiative of the Ministry of Labour, in which businesses and tradespeople are being invited to partner with Government to give young people between the ages of 16 and 24 the opportunity to get 12 months’ job experience in their operations.
Jordan said some people claimed that many young people were wasting opportunities, but he stressed that “individuals, companies and Government interested in the development of the country, must continue to provide opportunities” in spite of this claim.
He explained there were four components of the programme including a needs assessment of the young people. Exposure to career guidance, intervention to improve participants’ employability, psychosocial counselling for those identified as needing it, are aspects of the programme which Jordan said has been designed to ensure the young people got what they needed to perform effectively at work.
The Minister said the initial intended target was 3 500 young people this year, a figure which he explained was based on research that suggested about 2 800 school leavers were unable to find places in training or work.
“Thirty five hundred will allow us to work on this year’s school-leavers, plus work on reducing the backlog of those who have not been employed since leaving schools,” Jordan said.
Large and small businesses as well as individual tradespeople are being encouraged to participate in the programme in which the school leavers will be paid a stipend of $135 weekly.
The Minister urged the BHTA membership to view the stipend neither as a wage or a gift from their coffers, but to see it as some form of reward for the contribution the young person would be making to their business. (GC)