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Youth ministry looks to make grads more marketable - New job-experience programme piloted

Published:Wednesday | July 10, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

Help is on the way for the thousands of tertiary graduates who are usually unable to find jobs after exiting colleges and universities yearly because of little or no work experience.

The Ministry of Youth and Culture's latest initiative, Graduate Work Experience Programme, is expected to provide the much-needed lifeline for the graduates, who have long complained that employers are usually unwilling to hire them without the requisite work experience.

If fully implemented, private-sector companies will be called upon to partner with government institutions to provide the requisite experience to graduates over a six-month period, according to marketing manager at the National Youth Service (NYS), Coreine Rainford.

"The summer-employment programme is the only avenue in which we were able to reach individuals from the universities, so in an effort to expand our reach and to make sure we make these young persons more employable, the department came up with the Graduate Work Experience Programme, and we have piloted that project," Rainford said.

The NYS marketing manager told The Gleaner that the pilot programme was in its final stage, with 11 graduates from colleges and universities across the island taking part.

While commenting on the success of the programme so far, Rainford said she was optimistic it would be fully implemented come next year, as soon as the assessment was done.


She also used the opportunity to call for private-sector support.

"In order for us to reach a wider range of young people, we ask for the support of the private sector. We would prefer them to go into the private sector, where they will get that experience as well," she said.

"We know the challenges that young persons face in finding jobs. Therefore, we urge the private sector to come on-board to assist in the placement of these young persons and to assist also with the stipend."

Rainford told The Gleaner that recruitment of graduates would be done through the career and counselling offices in the different colleges and universities.