by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- SAEP’s TVET programmes are aimed directly at reducing unemployment within rural communities
- US$640,000 has been budgeted for 460 young people to have TVET training
- Quota of 40% male participation projected cannot be met
As the Rural Development Unit within the Ministry of Finance prepares to spearhead various components of the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Programme, a challenge exists to meet the male quota needed for the SAEP’s TVET programmes.
SAEP’s TVET programmes are aimed directly at reducing unemployment within rural communities and target two main vulnerabilities in Grenada: high levels of youth unemployment and the high exposure of agricultural production to climate change.
US$640,000 has been budgeted from the US$14 million project for 460 young people to have technical and vocational training during the six-year lifespan of the project. Within the programme, these underemployed and unemployed young men and women between the ages of 16 and 35 will be trained in the first year in four occupational areas including:
- Food preparation and cookery
- Agro-food processing
- Community culture performance
- Crop production.
A quota of 60% female and 40% male participation was projected, however, Head of Rural Development Unit, Byron Campbell, indicated that they are unable to meet the quota set for the number of males to be targeted for programme. In the previous construction programme, where graduates received a competency certificate that can be used in any other Caricom country, there were male dropouts. Campbell said that males just didn’t have the tenacity and discipline to stay within the programme.
“We are seeing significantly more young women registering for the courses. We have been noticing that young men are reluctant to engage or invest in nine months of training. They prefer to have money now, so we are looking at this because it is critical that we get young men into the training programme,” said Campbell.
The SAEP Project is funded in part by IFAD (the International Fund for Agriculture Development) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), while the Grenada National Training Agency (NTA) is responsible for overseeing the technical and vocational skills training component which will be conducted in collaboration with TA Marryshow Community College and New Life Organisation.
Participants will be provided with financing to cover transportation, and for single mothers and fathers, funding will be provided to assist in access to services of a daycare centre.
Campbell said, “This is a loan by the Government of Grenada. It is costing in the vicinity of between $8,000 and $10,000 per person to be trained because we are providing also transportation support and for young men and women with children, we will be providing childcare service. If you are a participant in this programme, if you are a young mother getting your child to a daycare centre that costs in some cases around $300 a month, the programme will meet this cost. It will also cover all transportation costs.”
The community of Seamoon in St Andrew will see the establishment of the Training and Outreach Center to provide business development support for rural communities. Under this project, participants will be assessed and certified for CVQ level 2 in eight occupational areas within the two years. They are expected to spend nine months within the programme: six months in classroom sessions and three months of on the job training with the prospect of receiving permanent employment. The NTA has contracted training providers, and over the next two years will train 160 young people.
NTA Marketing and Communications Officer, Kay Julien-Gutu is appealing to persons interested in registering to be certified in Community Cultural Performance to do so, since that programme is undersubscribed.
“We do need more people to register for Community Cultural Performance. I believe people in Grenada see the creative arts as a hobby, but you actually can earn a living. The cultural performance also includes things like Light and Sound Engineering and Theatre Arts and various other types of artistic expressions. For the planning of cultural events like emancipation weekend activities, you could have experience in community cultural performance,” she said.
During the orientation for the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Rural Enterprise Programme on Thursday, 3 October, Minister responsible for Tertiary Education, Skills Development and Education Outreach, Pamela Moses reiterated government’s commitment to ensuring that today’s youth are prepared for tomorrow’s job market.
“As a government, we are guided by the demands of society and as such are responsible for helping the institutions provide training according to the needs of the service industry to provide a workforce that contributes significantly to our socio-economic development. Our main service industries such as tourism, hospitality, retail, and construction make up a large proportion of our economy and it is forecast that the sector will create many more new jobs. One of our government priorities is to improve the relevance and quality of tertiary education to meet current and future labour market needs. And so, we must focus on training if we are to remain relevant.”
Another major component of the programme is targeted at supporting rural entrepreneurship and business development in collaboration with the Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC). A three-year agreement was signed between both parties valued at EC$7,148,474.88 which includes EC$6,708,309.01 funding from the Government of Grenada and EC$440,165.87 in counterpart funding from GIDC.
Under the agreement, the GIDC is mandated to provide entrepreneurship training to 450 young people, to offer business development services to 150 adult business people and support at least 300 youth who have successfully completed the entrepreneurship training with the development of a business concept application to the First Push Grant (grant of EC$2,688.20 per individual or EC$6,720.50 per group and a mandatory 5% in kind or cash beneficiary contribution) and implementation of their concept. GIDC is committed to creating 90 sustainable businesses under the Business Grant Financing. Trainees who successfully complete the First Push can access a grant of EC$25,000.26 per business idea with a mandatory 10% beneficiary contribution, including 5% in cash.