SKYE project, GCCI launch employment initiative (Guyana Times)

The Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) project in collaboration with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Thursday launched “SKYE Job Bank;” an initiative designed to enable 1500 youths to gain meaningful employment.

With the primary objective of reducing youth crime and violence through the strengthening of economic participation and civic engagement, the SKYE Job Bank’s online site was launched at Duke Lodge, Kingston in the presence of the U.S. Ambassador D Brent Hardt, SKYE Chief-of-Party Dr Jan Karpowicz and GCCI’s President Clinton Urling among others.

The four year initiative was designed to promote work-ready training and livelihood coaching activities for 1500 youths between the ages of 15 and 24 years in Regions Three, Four, Five, Six, Nine and 10. Karpowicz said the initiative is a stepping stone for Guyanese youths. “The project will help young people to basically unlock the potential that they have, to ensure that they realise their ambitions, for earning a honest living, the potential of helping themselves and their families, their parents, their communities, and automatically the country of Guyana,” he told those in attendance at the launch. He said they may not have good writing and reading skills, but they have the willingness to learn, noting that the SKYE initiative will help them along the way.

To date, 891 persons have been enrolled in the programme which got on its way in September 2012. Notably, 649 have completed training, with 253 gaining employment since then. With the launching of the page on GCCI’s website, both parties are hoping to accelerate the process of providing youths with job opportunities.

U.S. Ambassador Hardt said the job bank is a new way to link “work ready” young men and women with potential employers. “The young men and women who will participate in this new job bank have already received extensive training, coaching and mentoring from dedicated USAID SKYE staff and volunteers. They are eager to put into practice the new life and work skills they have gained,” he posited in his address.

With the help of the SKYE coaches, the enrolled young men and women are receiving the requisite knowledge and skills currently in demand. Ambassador Hardt said such skills will enable the beneficiaries to become healthy, productive workers and community members.

He applauded GCCI for its willingness to host the job bank on its website, noting that it can be easily marketed to the private sector.

“This is yet another demonstration of your ongoing commitment to develop the next generation of Guyana’s leaders. Allowing employers to match available, work ready personnel with existing vacancies will produce mutual benefits; both for young people and for the private sector.”

GCCI’s President Clinton Urling said the chamber is more than happy to assist, noting that good reviews have been given on youths who were groomed under the SKYE initiative.

“The reviews coming from my folks are very positive, and we have made a decision, if we are going to hire…we have taken a decision to go to the Skye project to look for persons who are looking for employment. And that’s part of the genesis for this entire project for us,” he stated.

The work readiness training curriculum includes personal development, interpersonal communication, work habits and conducts, leadership and teamwork, safety and health at work and worker and employer rights and responsibilities.

Additionally, the project include four strategies; Detention Prevention which will allow for the creation and implementation of a system of alternative sentencing and diversion for minor offences.

Welcome Home; another strategy will focus on the designing and implementation of a reintegration system that ensures that youth exiting the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) receive support to re-enter society and to enter the work.

Get Ready to Work and Be Your Own Boss are also strategies in placed.