‘Youths seeking greener pastures’ as Guyana continues to suffer from brain drain – Dr Norton

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Cognisant of the ‘Brain Drain’ phenomenon exacerbated by the level of youth unemployment in Guyana, the inaugural Youth Business summit was initiated to foster the creation of jobs and encourage youths to remain in Guyana and contribute to their country.

The two-day summit, organised by the Department of Youth of the Ministry of Social Cohesion, opened on Wednesday at the Pegasus Hotel and is geared at investing a sense of civic engagement in youth while developing a ‘business’ mindset.

Addressing the audience of 100 participants and personnel from Guyana’s business sector, Minister of Social Cohesion with responsibility for Culture, Youth and sport, Dr George Norton said, “Seeing you youths here this morning gives me the impression that this nation is moving in the right direction.”

Minister Norton contended that Guyana has been suffering from a “situation of a Brain Drain,” where according to him, “Our qualified youths [are] leaving the country in search of greener pastures.”

Adding to this, Norton remarked that it is no secret that Guyana has been faced with the issue of unemployment, particularly among youths.

Despite these dismal circumstances, the Minister reminded that when the current Government took office in 2015, it made a promise to the nation to create jobs.

“For this administration, creating jobs means empowering the young people to become their own bosses,” he stated.

“It means encouraging ideas that are innovative and are developmental for your communities, that is, so that you can go back to your community and we don’t necessarily have to leave our community and much more so leave our country.”

Efforts such as the inaugural summit have been tapped. This summit specifically stresses the inclusion of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Architecture, Archeology, Anthropology, the Arts, Mathematics and/or Spirituality (STEAMS), a concept birthed last year at the launch of Youth Week. Here, young participants would be able to benefit from business training and education over the two days and then prepare proposals through which they may be able to score startup capital.

Essential to the creation of jobs, according to the Minister, is equipping young people with the skills to be productive citizens. “In short,” he posited, “This inaugural business summit is poised to change the business and employment landscape of this country for the better.”

While directing efforts on creating jobs, the Minister also noted that recently a green paper was taken to the Cabinet to establish the National Youth Service.

He explained, “This National Youth Service would be under the remit of the Ministry of Social Cohesion and all the different projects and projects that might be existing at this point in time would come under what is referred to as the Common Core Curriculum.”

It is the hope of the Cohesion Ministry and the Government to create among youth a sense of discipline, social unity, pride and national responsibility.

According to statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO), quoted online, Youth Unemployment for Guyana in 2017  was pegged at 25.9 percent.

The inaugural Youth Business Summit was launched at the Pegasus Hotel on Wednesday under the theme: “Bridging youth business leaders of tomorrow, today.”

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