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Jun 22, 2012

Graduation for at-risk youths

Several programs have been introduced in the Old Capital by the Ministry of Education to address the increased number of dropouts and offer opportunities to the youth. Some of those programs include the Gwen Lizarraga Evening School Program, the Excelsior High School Program among others. The Youth Apprenticeship Program and the Skills Training Center are two initiatives whose main targets are at-risks youth and giving them an opportunity to enter the mainstream education system or even a trade. In May, the Apprenticeship program had its second passing out ceremony. But today, the spotlight was on the Skills Training Center and its first batch of graduates. Freelance Reporter Duane Moody has this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The closing exercise of the Skills Training Center was held today at its compound on Magazine Road in Belize City. Fifty-nine at risk youths—both male and female—completed the course providing them with an opportunity to become productive citizens.

 

Enid Oshon

Enid Oshon, Manager, Skills Training Center

“There were four skilled areas that we though front office, which is under hospitality; sewing which falls under arts and craft; IT Repair and barbering. The program was challenging in that we had what I called a mix multitude of young people coming from different backgrounds, but the strategies we used with them really worked.  I call those fifty-nine our hundred percent cusses. Why? Because I think our society has reached a point where they abandon the young people and the family support is very lacking.”

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“I think it’s a wonderful success very important to what our efforts are here in Belize City to fight crime and violence. Fifty-nine young people who if they had not gotten into this program, we believe would have gotten into some other negative activity here in Belize City.”

 

Christopher Felix

It’s an opportunity of a lifetime, says the top performer from the IT Repair programme, Christopher Felix which opens the doors for further studies in a related field.

 

Christopher Felix, Top Performer for IT Repair, Skills Training Center

“Before the six months, all I knew how to do was turn on a computer and turn it off. Now I know how to rebuild a computer and to manufacture.”

 

Duane Moody

“What are you going to do with these skills that you’ve learnt? Are you planning to go into a business, job or continue school?”

 

Christopher Felix

“Well I am planning to further my education in IT repair, go to sixth form and graduate and be a certified technician.”

 

One hundred plus students started the six months programme back in January, but only fifty-nine successfully completed. Minister of Education, Patrick Faber says the government will further support to the graduates.

 

Patrick Faber

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

“Some of them have been accepted to regular high schools, the Gwen Liz Evening School program and some are going into the program at the ITVET. And the government will continue to give them that support every step of the way because we believe that this kind of intervention is necessary for them to be successful. But I point out that the government could be doing its part, but if the community, the parents; all the other stakeholders in education are not giving them the support then this will be futile in the end. A program like this I believe works on two fronts: it works in terms of fixing the social fabric that has gone so terribly bad in this country; but it also helps in terms of channeling these young people in a forward direction in their own individual and personal lives.”

 

The students trained in Sewing, IT Repairs, Barbering and Front Office skills. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

Minister Faber says that the Skills Training Program will expand and it is up to the youth to take advantage of any of the programs offered by the Ministry of Education.

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1 Response for “Graduation for at-risk youths”

  1. Rod says:

    What needs to be done is any person who is not in school before age 18! Should be put in the B d f make them serve the country .

  2. Vuk says:

    For once I agree with you, Rod. For once.

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