The Hinterland Employment Youth Service program is an intensive peer learning and exchange program where persons, through adult facilitatory practices teach, discuss, learn and exchange experiences and knowledge from a virtual repository of information in order to improve their standard of living and contribute positively to the development of their communities.
In keeping with the promise made by HE President David Granger for Hinterland development to the National Toshaos Conference 20l5 the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples Affairs has followed through with the launch and rollout of the Hinterland Employment Youth Service targeting 2000 youth in one hundred and six communities across Regions l, 7, 8 and 9.
Having made a strong commitment to positively contribute to the improving of lifestyle and standards of living for youth and young adults who reside in the hinterland areas with an academic or non-academic need, regardless of gender, religion or political persuasion, the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs with limited resources this year, has been engaged in the production of exciting and interesting user friendly materials for use by youth that will bolster their preparedness for the world of work and the responsibilities that come with adulthood. .
This program which uses an integrated and progressive approach to learning, seeks to empower youth and young adults, who – in some cases – need a second chance to maximize their full potential socially and economically. Due to its adult friendly modalities and on-site delivery of the program, youth and other stakeholders can expect both short term and long term benefits. Short term within the first six months of capacity building and preparation for business development and long term over another six months period in entrepreneurial establishment where young businesses are weaned.
Community participation and exchange of experiences through group interaction will be part of the best practice utilized and documented for the efficacy of the program.
These youth and young adults are expected to matriculate through a program that allows them opportunities for both self and professional development. These youth will acquire the skills to function in a positive and meaningful way in society. Youth will be empowered to start businesses in a range of sectors including agro-based, information technology, industrial technology, arts, food processing and textiles.
Youth who are being offered alternatives and are being influenced due to peer pressure and economic challenges often ask questions like, “What’s in it for me? Or What can I expect to receive at the end of such a program?” Well, participants in the Hinterland Employment Youth Service can be assured of developing a strong economic base as each person involved will receive a monthly stipend and seed capital in the form of a grant for the purpose of starting their own businesses on completion of the program.
Notwithstanding the previous fact, the curriculum which uses a unique andragogical approach instills within participants essential life skills such as communication skills, anger management, time management, appropriate behavior on the job, proper attire and problem solving skills. Capacity building elements prepare youth for leadership and teamwork, personal development, rights and responsibilities and health and safety (modularized). Language and math skills are delivered using an integrated approach through the Concentrated Language Experience (modularized) and vocational skills – garment construction and joinery/carpentry – along with Entrepreneurship all prepare the participant for a future of success and upward mobility.
Participants can also expect once per month workshops on areas of importance such as sexual and reproductive health, domestic violence, democracy and governance, etc. and 3-month courses in eco-tourism and agriculture.
Existing barriers and challenges will be addressed by dedicating resources to the task at hand and, sourcing quality facilitators from within these communities who will be further trained as trainers .The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs will use a proactive approach of on-going monitoring and review through the use of Regional Program Monitors who will in turn provide reports to the Program Coordinator on a monthly basis, thus providing individual accountability for each registered participant.
By the end of the program, youth will be better prepared to assist in the transformation of their communities through starting projects that will in turn have positive social, mental and financial benefits to be derived.