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Radical change coming for Government youth programmes

Prime Minister, Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, is warning employers that they stand to lose the benefit of IMANI trainees if they cannot find adequate placement for them after a specified period.

While he praised the programme which is one of the Ministry’s flagship initiatives, Dr Mitchell said IMANI trainees should not maintain that status beyond two years.

The Prime Minister who will assume responsibility for Youth Development when the recently announced reshuffle of Government Ministers takes effect on October 05, 2020, met Wednesday with Minister Kate Lewis and other top officials of the Ministry of Youth Development.

The Prime Minister said, “It is not fair to our young people that we label them as IMANI trainees for all these years.”

He noted that there has been a blatant misuse of the services of these young people in both the public and private sectors where IMANI trainees are doing the work of full-time staff but they are not recognised or rewarded for such.

“As Prime Minister, I accept part of the responsibility for this because it happened under my watch, but going forward, we have to do better,” Dr Mitchell said.

In what seemed to be national protests which started with the cancellation of some Carnival activities, young people continue to use social media to call on the government to pay attention to youth empowerment and development.

“We have to provide hope, empowerment and a greater sense of security to the young people of this country. I promise you, there will be some radical changes,” Dr Mitchell said.

He acknowledged that the Ministry of Youth Development has undertaken several ambitious initiatives, but he cited the need for continuous assessment.

He said “Many initiatives are well-intentioned but we also have to consider whether they are optimal, in terms of implementation and impact. There will be pitfalls along the way and we have to periodically assess these and make the necessary adjustments. How much we invest cannot be our only consideration. If the right structures and personnel are not in place, we will not achieve optimal results.”

The Ministry of Youth Development has already embarked on an assessment of all persons within the IMANI Programme. The Prime Minister welcomed this and also called for periodic reports on the status of IMANI trainees.

He said, “The data will help to determine the next step as the Ministry seeks to improve the impact of its programmes. Despite the challenges that exist, as leaders, we have a responsibility to do what we can to help our young people.”

The Prime Minister also made a commitment to address the matter of job security in the Ministry.

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