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Mar 4, 2022

Youth Entrepreneurship & On-the-Job Skills Training Graduation

An on-the-job skills training programme organized by the Department of Youth Services concluded today with a graduation ceremony at its headquarters in Belize City. The programme, which engaged young people from different walks of life, served as a bridge that linked them with employers across the country. While two hundred and thirty participated countrywide, Belize City and Orange Walk saw the biggest cohorts of youth. News Five’s Duane Moody attended the graduation and files this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The Gateway Youth Center Auditorium was the stage for the 2022 Youth Entrepreneurship and On the Job Skills Training Graduation, which saw the Belize City cohort of the programme being issued their certificates of completion. While some didn’t make the graduation because they have already transitioned to fulltime work, their peers were beaming with pride and smiles as they received their certificates.


Shakira Castellanos

Shakira Castellanos, Graduate

“I joined the programme once before in the past while Miss Finnegan was running it, but I wasn’t serious like now. And now that I have gotten a second chance in life, I decided that I will complete this program and do my best in finishing it and do everything to let me reach the top and that’s where I am heading right now.”


While it has some trappings of the apprenticeship programme, it is also different. Director of the Department of Youth Services, Kevin Cadle, who along with Dianne Finnegan successfully coordinated the apprenticeship programme, broke down the goals.


Kevin Cadle

Kevin Cadle, Director, Department of Youth Services

“This particular initiative is one of the first of a series of different programmes that we are actually launching and it is the On the Job Skills Training Programme, which is a water-down version of what should be the apprenticeship programme. It catered to young people who are underserved. What I mean underserved, I mean young people who have dropped out of school, young people who have not had the opportunity to be in school for quite some time, young people who are actually working, but would want something else and also to students. And the reason for students is that there are a lot of young people coming out of school, but when they come out they have no opportunities in terms of the world of work and we need to provide that type of service for young people. Remember, the Department of Youth Services deal with young people from all walks of life, from every different avenue, and so we have to ensure that young people in every different direction are taken care of. The past apprenticeship programme was saturated in Belize City; we did have a few young people who would have come from the district, but now this is a national programme. We have twenty young persons from each district, about fifty from Orange Walk and fifty from Belize City and a total of two hundred and thirty young persons.”


In attendance today were Minister Rodwell Ferguson and Minister of State Gilroy Usher Senior, who both shared words of encouragement with the graduates.

Gilroy Usher Sr.

Gilroy Usher Sr., Minister of State, Youth & Sports

“The government through the Department of Youth Services has led you to the door of opportunities. You must now enter that door and used your newly acquired skills to be gainfully employed, productive and law-abiding citizens.”


Rodwell Ferguson

Rodwell Ferguson, Minister of Youth & Sports

“My advice to you: don’t let your upbringing lead your life activities because you might grow up in a certain condition and you want to say that you’re going to remain that way. No. You must always try to reach to the highest.”


Cadle says that the programme’s success is also due to the many business owners who wanted to adopt individual participants.


Kevin Cadle

“We have been working with employers and we have a directory that we built from about thirteen years ago which comprised of about a hundred and fifty employers. Now that directory is almost at about four hundred because we now have employers nationally and they have all been engaged in this type of programme.”


The theme for the graduation was: “Overcoming Barriers, Accepting Challenges, Beating the Odd.”  Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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