Youth unemployment is Region 10’s biggest development challenge

Dear Editor,
Youth unemployment has become Region 10’s biggest developmental challenge. In almost every community, unemployment – which had resulted from the economic downturn under the previous APNU/AFC, which discouraged employers from employing these young people – still remains, almost half of all jobless youths are under the age of thirty. This is something which was evident through the previous APNU/AFC Administration between the period 2015 and 2020, as they squandered the economic potential of our region and country, the enormous lies they told our population, especially in Region #10. It was the APNU/AFC administration that chased away RUSAl, leaving 600 persons in Region #10 unemployed, mainly their own supporters. Our PPP/C Government is presently having discussion with RUSAL, exploring ways of re-engagement, re-establishing the Forestry Commission to support small loggers in Region 10, with the need to add value to their products creating more jobs in the region.
We must be thankful that since the People’s Progressive Party/Civic took office, they immediately made efforts to create sustainable employment for our young people throughout Guyana and Region 10. Some might say the challenges are insurmountable.
Without the inclusion of the high economic growth since the PPP/C Government took office some six months ago, that shows our Government ministers have been leading from the front with several outreaches in the various regions across this country, listening to Guyanese, including our young people, finding solutions for the various issues. Our Government is cognisant of the fact that Guyana’s young people are our greatest employment asset. Likewise, every Guyanese is Guyana’s greatest value.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Charles Ramson Jr, was recently in Region 10. He articulated the PPP/C Government’s intention to change young people’s lives, and indicated that all young people in Linden must have the same opportunities, and benefit from the same initiatives. The reconstruction of the MSC is one initiative that would create job opportunities for Linden youths. Recommissioning of the Linden Call Center is another. Focusing on our youths, therefore, is a must for our country, but creating jobs for our youths is a priority across Guyana. Youths are not finding it difficult to get a job, but are finding it more difficult to find decent jobs.
What young people need today is not only a job, but a job that enables them to make contributions as workers, citizens and agents of change. This is the challenge we face, the desire to obtain meaningful employment opportunities.
This is why all development players – civil society, our Government, business, community and young people themselves – have critical roles to play in delivering innovative solutions to the huge current youth employment challenge. When these development players become collaborative partners, the synergy creates powerful outcomes. In this context, collaboration may be not only useful, but also inspiring for the interested actors to identify and describe in depth a set of community-based youth employment development projects from across our region, representing valuable collaboration between development players. The intention is to identify a set of employment opportunities focusing on public-private partnerships, whose success factors and lessons could provide guidance for similar initiatives in other regions and communities. Strengths, shared features and improvable aspects that are appropriately presented in each region with intangibles and details of each experience will be evidence, and the key elements of success highlighted, as retrieved from direct contact with project managers, in order to serve as possible inspiration.
Our President, in his new year’s message to our nation, reflected a general overview of initiatives, including initiatives which impact significantly on youth employment and the provision of decent job opportunities; illustrate a diversity of approaches; focus on various aspects of youth employment development facilitation, including initiatives related to the provision of employable skills, innovative skills training, job linking and matching, mentorship, internships and youth enterprise creation; – highlight innovative partnership and collaboration between civil society, public institutions, the private sector and young people.
As the People’s Progressive Party Civic Government continues to create job opportunities, introduce low cost for tertiary education, and generally encourage youngsters to enter the job market, it is to overcome these difficulties, but also to unlock their potential so that they can mature and become tomorrow’s dynamic workforce.
Our PPP/C Government’s approach to combat this issue is necessarily interactive and cooperative: togetherness with all Government agencies such as the Department of Education Services and the Ministry of Education; our Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry and Services Unit are already working hard to place our young people on the pathway for employment by helping young people identify possible careers by testing aptitude and personality traits. There are also opportunities to explore a range of fields, including mechanics, office administration, fashion designing, creative media, and culinary arts. In addition, the Youth Services Unit works with youths to plot their further education plans by exploring tertiary education institutions, course requirements and scholarship opportunities. Staff also assist with creating and updating young people’s résumés, and maintain an updated bulletin board of job opportunities for entry-level applicants and other suitably qualified youngsters.
The Ministry of Education, Training & Employment has also been working on several initiatives aimed at improving services, support, assistance and guidance to the youth of this country.
But these commendable efforts should not be left to stand alone. Parents, teachers, friends, family and community should all be part of the equation. From an early age, our children need to develop
solid values, and we need to instill in them the value of a strong work ethic.
We should likewise offer career counselling, encouraging our youth to think outside of the box when it comes to livelihood choices, and strongly promoting creativity and entrepreneurship.
I accordingly call on everyone to make an investment in Guyana’s future and spend time with a young person who wants to be a part of Guyana’s development process. I can assure you that it will be time well spent.

David Adams