IN Guyana, the youths comprise approximately 60% of the population. In my humble opinion, enough emphasis isn’t being placed on the young people of this country who are the future. Each year, hundreds graduate from secondary schools and are unable to further their studies (worse if they are not from Georgetown). Even more graduate from the university to venture into the world of work in which there are no jobs for them.
Many are forced to suppress their dreams and aspirations, despite being qualified; despite working and studying hard to finish their schooling, academically equipped to face the challenges of the world of work, only to be surprised that the real challenge is in gaining meaningful employment in Guyana. Any hope of a productive and meaningful life, the chasing of one’s dream significantly diminishes, leaving nothing but a struggle for survival. As a young Guyanese, I find this challenge burdensome.
I pity those who aren’t qualified, for if those of us with our qualifications find it so difficult to secure employment, what about those without. Many are talking about things being better in this country; they need to be more aligned to the common man and the everyday hardships they endure just to survive in this country, because the struggle is real.
We the youths constitute Guyana’s only hope for a real future. The youths of this country are ambitious, enthusiastic, energetic and promising.
We are considered vulnerable in today’s society because of the rapid pace of change we experience at this time in our lives. A national youth development policy should be created and designed to advocate for youth and youth development. This policy should view youth welfare as vital to Guyana as a nation and its socio-economic development. Identifying and addressing these issues would enhance the lives of youths in Guyana and would improve overall national development.
Now is the time; what are our leaders waiting for? The formation/creation of a youth policy must have youth participation on a national level, which should involve recognising and nurturing the strengths, interests, and abilities of young people of this country through the provision of real opportunities for us youths to become involved in decisions that affect us at individual and systemic levels. It is time the young people become involved in the decision-making process that adversely affects our lives, both now and in the future. For example, The draconian marijuana law directly affects many youths, since mostly young men are jailed for small quantities, thereby directly and indirectly changing their lives negatively.
I implore those responsible to provide technical training to our youths to prepare them specifically for jobs. Technical and Vocational Training and Education (TVET) would help address the skills crisis. Youths who aren’t academically inclined and/or are school dropouts are often the most unprepared in acquiring jobs, due largely to their lack of skills. With our resources and the money from our oil, a technical institute should be available in each of the 10 administrative regions of this country.
This would be more convenient for persons living out of Georgetown or Linden, where two of our institutes are located. Youths who are neither working nor studying do not have the opportunity to learn and improve their skills. They are progressively marginalised and in turn can develop anti-social behaviours (hence, crime mostly involving youths, drug abuse and gang-related problems and teenage pregnancy, and a whole host of other social ills that negatively affect our society).
Vocational education will help to combat youth unemployment, because vocational training programmes will reduce unemployment and increase wages, increase employers’ productivity and significant social benefits will improve the health and well-being of the average Guyanese youth. For the “Good Life” that was promised a while over three years ago, we the youths of this country still await those jobs.
It was time for the youths, please do not fail us with your divisive politics and petty agendas. We are the future of this country, invest in us, create that foundation that we so desperately need; be our role models and ensure that you set a good foundation for the future generations of this beautiful land of Guyana.