In less than a week, 260 eligible Bahamians will begin a 12-week jobs skills training program at the National Training Agency (NTA), the result of an agreement signed yesterday between the NTA and the Ministry of National Security.
The ministry contracted the agency as part of its Citizen Security and Justice Program (CSJP), which is funded by a $20 million Inter-American Development Bank loan.
Minister of National Security Marvin Dames called the signing a “major milestone” in the progress of the ministry’s CSJP program.
He said the signing also demonstrates that the government fully understands the connection between unemployment and crime.
“The government remains concerned about the rate of unemployment in The Bahamas, in particular the high rate of unemployment among our young people,” Dames said during a press conference at police headquarters.
“Employment is one of the elements used to address crime and poverty.
“An effective job training program that focuses on employability skills greatly increases individuals’ chances of gaining and keeping employment.”
CSJP Project Manager Dr. Dorcas Cox said the overarching objective of the program is to increase employability and employment among vulnerable young people in New Providence.
The latest unemployment survey, conducted in late April 2018, pegged joblessness at 10 percent nationally while youth unemployment was 24.1 percent.
Dames said addressing unemployment is part of his ministry’s multi-pronged approach to address criminality in the country.
According to officials, the first four weeks of training will focus on the development of soft skills, such as “responsibility, degree of commitment, teamwork building, persistence and self-control and remedial education in literacy and numeracy”.
The final eight weeks will involve comprehensive onsite employment training with special emphasis on the hospitality and retail sectors.
According to Dames, a survey of local employers showed that 34 percent of them reported a lack of specific skills as the most important barrier to recruiting workers, while 29 percent pointed to candidates’ lacks of experience.
Another 28 percent said there was a deficiency in soft skills.
Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, who attended the signing, said the training course will be based on the existing curricula at the NTA and participants will be assessed by instructors using accredited international criteria.
He said, “Trainees will leave the NTA well equipped to find and maintain employment, with recognized training and certification and valuable on-the-job training experience.”
Following the training program, successful trainees will be able to search for employment using the Ministry of Labour’s Public Employment Services system.
The program begins on Monday.