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Youth Development Services

Project Organization

Strategic Advancement Centre

Project Location

Trinidad and Tobago is the most southerly of the Caribbean islands, located just 12 km to the north-east of Venezuela. It is English-speaking and unlike most of its Caribbean neighbors it is highly industrialized with its economy based on liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and oil. Its population is about 1.2 million people of East Indian (40%) and African (38%) with the remaining people either mixed or of other descent including Chinese, European and native peoples.

Trinidad and Tobago’s main developmental challenges lie in making its education system more relevant and accessible, extending the reach and scope of its medical services and equipping and training its security forces.

Project Description

The Y.D.S. is a Career Development Program which enables school leavers and young adults to access the necessary information, guidance, consultation and training necessary to make informed career choices and to face the global marketplace.

Project Rationale

The majority of school leavers in Trinidad and Tobago lack basic employability skills such as problem solving, decision making and communication skills, which are necessary to acquire and retain employment (Labour Market Survey Report- National Training Agency of T&T, 2004). The problem is accentuated for youths in rural communities. Two goals of the National Youth Policy of Trinidad & Tobago are “to ensure that youth acquire appropriate negotiating and problem solving skills” and “to ensure that youths acquire the social skills to interact with others both in local and international communities.”

Project Activities

Twice weekly meetings held over a 10 week period with 12 to 20 participants most of whom were adolescents or young adults located in the rural north-east of the island. The programme content covers both Career Assessment & Planning and Employability Skills Training with topics such as Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Teamwork and Preparing for the Interview.

Project Impact

Thus far 66 students have participated in the Youth Development Services Program. All participants expressed their increased confidence in their preparation for the work place and greater realism in their expectations. Most of the participants who were in search of a job were able to find one that better suited not only their training but also their natural skills and tendencies.