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Afraid to fail

Published:Tuesday | March 23, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Andrene Henry, volunteers with A Brighter Day Foundation.

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer

A culture of 'finding a job' and the fear of failure are two of the critical factors that have steered young people away from the various government programmes geared towards helping them start their own businesses and create employment opportunities.

"A lot of us are not socialised to start our own businesses. We are trained to go to school then try to find a job. That is how you are taught to live your life," said Andrene Henry, who is reading for a master's degree and volunteers with A Brighter Day Foundation.

Henry was strongly supported by management consultant Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, who argued that some of these programmes are not properly packaged or advertised to attract young people, who already believe they are not adequately prepared to take on the responsibilities of starting their own businesses.

"There is a fear of failure in the society on a whole because of how Jamaicans stigmatise failure. We don't promote success enough and we bash people for not being successful," Coke-Lloyd said.

"We have to target the youths ... what they watch ... where they go ... how they think. Common sense will tell you that you are targeting the youth, so you have to take a particular approach."

The two were participating in a Gleaner Editors' Forum held at the company's North Street offices on Friday.

No knowledge

As if to drive home Coke-Lloyd's argument, another participant, HEART/NTA graduate Orville Williamson, disclosed that prior to the forum, he had not known much about one of the Government's most recent initiatives, the Young Entrepreneurs Programme.

Williamson said young people had many ideas they wanted to turn into reality but were fearful that because "you come from a background where your family is poor you think you don't have what it takes to meet the requirements to get a loan".

He added: "These are some of the reasons why, as young people, we can't really come out of the darkness into the light," said Williamson, who now works as a construction site supervisor.

Williamson urged the Government to set up centres in every parish where young people could get all the information they needed to start their own businesses.

"They should also have other young people (employed) in these centres who can impact others when they go into these centres," he said.

Henry offered a different approach, arguing that any attempt to "resocialise" our young people must start in the home.

"It has to start with our families. You have to get to (young) people from early. Train them that you fend for yourself first, then work for people second," she said.