There are approximately 5,500 12th grade students in The Bahamas preparing to graduate in June of 2019.
Their success in life and the workplace will depend on their academic performance, but more importantly, on their leadership skills.
Famed human resource trainer and motivator, Dale Carnegie, once noted that when it came to work success, “Even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering to personality and the ability to lead people.”
While leadership skills are greatly important for success in life, most schools have no systematic means of helping students develop them, leaving many handicapped in this area of their personal development. The Bahamas Youth Leadership Development (BYLD) program, founded by Zhivargo Laing, who is also the executive director and senior policy fellow of the Government and Public Policy Institute at the University of The Bahamas, was created to help address this need.
Launched in September 2011, BYLD annually provides leadership training for graduating seniors, convinced that it will help them transition to adulthood more effectively; be more prepared for employment; and make a more positive contribution to the broader Bahamian society.
The program provides training through monthly seminars over 10 months that focus on skills such as goal setting, planning, communication, problem solving, teamwork, emotional intelligence, financial management and more; in addition to interaction with business and community leaders and corporate tours of Grand Bahama, New Providence and Atlanta, Georgia.
To date, more than 300 high school seniors from Grand Bahama high schools have benefited from BYLD. The program is, for the most part, free of charge to the participants.
Having focused predominantly on Grand Bahama, the program now expands to New Providence.
Together with 50 students from Grand Bahama who began their program in October, 40 students from New Providence began the 2018-2019 BYLD season. In total, more than 400 students have passed through this youth leadership development program.