THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported programme, SKYE (Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment), yesterday launched its job bank in collaboration with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).
The launch took place at Roraima Duke Lodge, Duke Street in Georgetown.
The job bank is accessible to potential employers through the official GCCI website. As demonstrated by GCCI Executive Director Marissa Lowden, users can log on to www.gccigy.org, select the ‘Vacancy/Job Bank’ drop down menu on the Home page, then select the SKYE job bank tab.
The job bank is an option for the youths in the programme who can post a complete profile showing academic qualifications, areas of interest, career ambition and more.
At the launch U.S. Ambassador to Guyana Dr. Brent Hardt expressed delight at the launch of the bank which he said will provide a new way to link ‘work ready’ young men and women with potential employers, which he said is a vital element in supporting development of, and opportunity for, Guyana’s young people.
Hardt said 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 and were eager to put into practice the new life and work skills that they had gained.
He noted that these skills were identified as critical for success during extensive consultations with public and private sector employers. Such skills would enable them to be productive workers and community members as they entered the field of paid employment.
He expressed gratitude to the GCCI, and particularly to its President Clinton Urling, for their leadership in the initiative, saying that their willingness to host the bank on the organisation’s website and their help would be critical elements in the venture’s success.
“Allowing employers to match available work-ready personnel with existing vacancies will produce mutual benefits both for young people and the private sector.”
Continuing, Hardt said from the initial launch of the USAID SKYE programme until now, the private sector has remained a vital and vibrant partner in supporting and creating new opportunities for Guyana’s young people. He noted that private sector associations such as the GCCI have repeatedly helped to implement innovative ideas to expand opportunities for Guyanese youth.
Expressing gratitude, he said that without local partners from both the public and the private sector the USAID programme would not have been possible and their continued engagement would ensure the sustainability of the programme.
Meanwhile, Urling lauded the programme, highlighting the importance of employees who he described as the most important constituent of the business sector as without employees business wouldn’t work. He noted that the “best group” of workers at his own restaurant (Germans) have been those coming out of the SKYE programme.
SKYE Chief of Party Dr. Jan Karpowicz said that the project helped youths to unlock their potential and that it was a pleasure to work with persons who saw themselves as the future.
SKYE expands education, skill-building and employment for at risk youth in Guyana, with the goal of reducing youth crime and violence. For many at-risk youths, workforce development training is the key to gaining the necessary skills to enter the workforce and become productive, earning members of society. The four-year project provides targeted alternative sentencing, work-ready training, and livelihood coaching activities for 1,500 youth, 15-24, in Regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10. SKYE objectives include training youths in market-driven skills, and improving their ability to transition into the workforce.
All activities are integrated through the provision of employment coaches who are paired with each youth to assist them in reaching individual development destinations. The SKYE Project is recruiting and training 22 employment coaches, mostly local credentialed social workers who focus on youth, to work with young participants in four regions throughout Guyana.
The SKYE Project is part of President Obama’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), in which the United States is working together with the nations of the Caribbean on substantially reducing illicit trafficking, increasing public safety and security, and promoting social justice. Funded by USAID, SKYE is managed by the Education Development Center (EDC), and works with private sector partners, government ministries, community agencies and NGOs.
Project strategies include Detention Prevention: Creating and implementing a system of alternative sentencing and diversion for minor offenders; Welcome Home: Designing a reintegration system that ensures that the youth exiting the New Opportunity Corps receives support to reenter society and the workplace; Get Ready to Work: Developing a support and referral system; and Be Your Own Boss: Providing young people with education, information and support to start their own business.
In the next few years SKYE will also assess labour market needs to better position youth for success. The project is also working to build local capacities by providing curricula and training so that Guyanese communities can continue to engage at-risk youth and provide opportunities for them to become productive members of society.
(By Michelle Gonsalves)