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Jul 26, 2013

64 graduate from Youth Apprenticeship Program

The fourth Youth Apprenticeship Program wound up this morning with a ceremony at the Princess Hotel and Casino. Hundreds of young men and women took part in the four month program that combined theory with practical training on the job. A number of business houses opened their doors to the apprentices, some of whom have been hired on a full time basis.   News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

 

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Youth Apprenticeship Program started in 2010 with a handful of participants. Intake four received more than four hundred applicants, but not all made it to today’s graduation ceremony.

 

Diane Finnegan

Diane Finnegan, Coordinator, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“The fourth intake of the youth apprenticeship program began on February eighteenth 2013 with a total of two hundred and twenty young people participating in the orientation process which lasted for two weeks. And at the end of that period one hundred and fifty youths were placed at various employers. And if you are wondering why some are faded out, it is because as I mentioned before, we focus on discipline.”

 

Keynote Speaker, Mose Hyde, spoke of the importance of the inclusion of the private sector.

 

Mose Hyde

Mose Hyde, Keynote Speaker

“That the business houses of Belize have opened up themselves to accommodate the young men and women of the apprenticeship program and in fact have made themselves a part of the solution. I think the businesses houses that have participated that have fertilized the young with values and virtues and have fostered an environment to progress and develop; they deserve to be applauded as well. Let’s give them a round of applause.”

 

Several businesses were commended for their participation, including Fabrigas.

 

Ezequel Ayala, Fabrigas

Ezequel Ayala

“I work at Fabrigas Belize Limited. I am the plant manager in charge of the operations of the company. Since this apprenticeship program, this is the second time we received members. The two members that have been sent to Fabrigas have been hired fully. The Fabrigas team believes in giving a second opportunity to people who do the right choice and that’s what we are trying to do because the private sector also needs to have some contribution to society.”

 

Anthony Morris had a tough life on the streets of Belize and the USA, but this graduate has a direction in life.

 

Anthony Morris, Graduate, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“Some mistakes I made in life. You know we all make mistakes. Me being deported was the result of one of those mistakes.”

 

Anthony Morris

Jose Sanchez

“How long have you been here before you got involved in this program?”

 

Anthony Morris

“Oh about eight years.  In the program, the thing is the people. If you can relate to anyone, it will make it easier. Me and Kevin Cadle, we are straight so yeah.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“You graduated from the program; what are your plans?”

 

Anthony Morris

“I’m going back to school. I’m going to further what I always wanted to do all my life and that’s being a lawyer. So that’s what am ah do.”

 

Elton Felix

Most of the graduates of the program must continue to pursue education or work. Elton Felix is now an employee of Belize Diesel.

 

Elton Felix, Graduate, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“Well it was now and again I try ketch and kill and stuff. So I went to Miss Finnegan, asked for the opportunity to join a program and try better off my life and such.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“What in the program made a different to you?”

 

Elton Felix

“The program is the level of respects at the work spots. You get to learn more stuff to educate you about the world.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Do you think you would have been able to connect to the business community without this program?”

 

Elton Felix

“Not really.”

 

Jason Wiltshire

Jose Sanchez

“Jason, tell me the program what it was like for you?”

 

Jason Wiltshire, Graduate, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“It helped me to learn and keep me off the street and to learn more thing. I enjoyed all of it. It’s a very good program.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Miss Wiltshire, I know you have your concerns of the program, your son has a disability. Can you tell us about it?”

 

Angela Wiltshire

Angela Wiltshire, Mother of Jason Wiltshire

“Well I love the program support and I enjoy the program a lot and it means a lot to him and myself. I think at the start of the new program, they should add something to support and assist the people with disability more.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“So that your son can have that additional help.”

 

Angela Wiltshire

“Exactly, yeah. Because of his disability, he cannot really find a job. So he has to keep coming back to the program. But I love the program beucase it allows him to get around the normal people and to do things that normal people wouldn’t give him the ability to do.”

 

Anthony Nicholas

Anthony Nicholas, Graduate, Youth Apprenticeship Program

“I learned mechanic. And I think Miss Finnegan for the opportunity for us to learn. This program dah bout fi you want change. If you want change your life, you come in the program. They can put themself in the program and get conscious because the program dah fi everybody. If you want learn something, you got a lotta trade fi make yo learn. Just keep dehn head high and hold it straight and get into something positive. So if dehn wah learn something. I di do reading. I neva did know how to rad, but now I di learn.”

Michelle Gotoy

Michelle Gotoy

“The program is all about making a difference in your life and to improving your skills. It had made a big difference for me because I learned more about cooking. Although I am a cook, I didn’t know everything about cooking; about all the different dishes. I was placed at Old Belize and I learned a lot of different foods and how to prepare them.”

 

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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