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Aug 6, 2015

Youth Cohort Completes Apprenticeship Program

The Youth Apprenticeship Program graduated eighty students this morning. The six month course prepared the apprentices to enter and stay focused in the work force.  The program has had a good rate of success and the majority of those who have passed through are today gainfully employed. Duane Moody was at the Ramada Belize City Princess for the completion of the seventh program.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Today at the Ramada Belize City Princess some eighty plus youths from Belize City successfully completed the Youth Apprenticeship Program of the Ministry of Education. The program seeks to give a second chance to individuals within the urban setting, teaching them life skills and preparing them for the workforce. Of the six hundred and thirty graduates of the program, a total of four hundred and eighty are currently employed and going back to school.

 

Dianne Finnegan

Dianne Finnegan, Coordinator, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“We wanted to be able to include young people who are marginalized, young people who were labeled as idle, not wanting anything, not interested in becoming and accomplishing their goals. The program is a very strict program. It starts off with interested individuals registering. After registering we put together a meeting for all applicants; this is a general meeting where we get to inform them of what is our expectation of them. We focus on areas—all issues—that could affect an individual or could be the contributing factor to them losing their jobs or not becoming fully employed. And some of these topics range from man and woman problems, gossip, HIV/Aids, cancer, theft in the workplace, value and respect for the workplace; budgeting. These apprentices receive a small stipend of a hundred dollars per week of which they are obligated to save twenty dollars out of the hundred. And since this hundred dollars represents your taxpayer’s dollar, I’m the person put in charge to take care of it and make sure that the youths earn that hundred dollars.”

 

Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, under whose ministry the program was created back in 2010, addressed the graduates today as the keynote speaker. Faber says that he will ensure that any of the participants wishing to go to school will be assisted through the ministry.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“When they leave the program, they are better equipped to face the real struggles of life out there and that is in itself a great success. Mister Cadle spoke of the many successes of the youth apprentices – how many of them got to go on to high school, how many of them got to go on even to tertiary. Imagine, some of them who we wrote off and said they can’t go further than wherever they dropped out from. They are now creating successes at areas that people never thought they would get. And I want to salute those apprentices. But it shows you that if we embrace our young people, if we give them hope, if we give them the support that they need, that where they can go is limitless; they can be whatever they want to be, they can do whatever they want to do.  Whenever any of these young people decide they want to further their education, the Government of Belize through the Ministry of Education will support them for as long as they want to go.”

 

Majority of this cohort has already been placed at several businesses within the city. Coordinator of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, Dianne Finnegan gave the graduates some final words of encouragement.

 

Dianne Finnegan

“A; accept that there will be challenges that will come to distract you, but nothing stops the man who wants to achieve ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land. B; believe in yourselves and always keep busy; focus on your goals, find your passion, crate your life around it and then go live. Let the letter C remind you to convert your thoughts into hopes. D is for discipline, which is the bridge between goals and accomplishment so have the determination to convert your hopes into dreams and your dreams into reality. E; expect that there will be obstacles along the way but you got to fight and finish your journey.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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