Youths get training, job placements through ExxonMobil-funded project


Youths across the coast have been benefitting from job readiness training through a not-for-profit organization called Specialists in Sustained Youth Development and Research (SSYDR).

Through funding from ExxonMobil, which has amounted to $15 million, some 400 youths have been trained, with some of them helped to secure employment, said Magda Fiona Wills, Executive Director of the SSYDR.

She was speaking at a press conference Wednesday at the organisation’s office in Kingston, Georgetown.

SSYDR is an offshoot of the Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment or (SKYE) project which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development. SKYE fell under President Obama’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative aimed specifically at reducing youth crime and violence by offering education, skill-building and employment opportunities for at-risk youth in Guyana.

On completion of the five-year project, the very team of professionals formed SYDR, coming fully equipped with the tools, materials, methodologies and personnel to carry out the work centered on livelihood opportunities for youth.

As a result, the organization targets those who have not completed education for various reasons.

They go through a four-week interactive training programme and then a week of web development training.

Once they complete the exercise, the organsiation works with the youths to get them jobs or other opportunities, said Wills.

One of the previous beneficiaries of the project is Joshua Moore, from the Leopold Street, Georgetown area, who found work as a heavy-duty equipment operator.

“Because of the training I received, I’ve learnt to manage time, leadership skills, personal hygiene, how to assist others,” he told reporters.

Speaking with reporters Friday, he said the training allowed him to develop disciplines such as time management and etiquette.

Many of the youths join the programme with the aim of securing jobs, but as trainer Sonja Sampson said, they just need to be steered in the right direction.

Sonja, form Berbice, said that in many cases students are not given an option in choosing the stream of study they desire in secondary school, and so they would have to realign their goals.

Keony Rose, from Berbice, said that was her problem and the training helped her to set her goals and achieve them. Her goal is to become a chef and has already achieved a certificate from the Carnegie School of Home Economics and she will be furthering her studies to achieve her objective.

ExxonMobil has supported SSYDR’s work, because, according to Senior Director for Public and Government Affairs Deedra Moe, “it really is an impressive initiative.”

“We recognize that supporting and empowering youth are really catalysts for development,” she stated.

Youths from across six regions have benefited from the training.

According to SSYDR, young people from lower-performing secondary schools and from lower socio-economic conditions stand a greater chance of becoming unemployed and become entangled with the law and its goal is to prevent that from happening.


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