Ninety-six youths on Tuesday graduated from the Sophia Training Centre, Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training Programme. The programme offers a second chance to school dropouts between the ages of 16 to 25.
The six-month programme offers skills training in catering, data operation, masonry, plumbing, refrigeration and air conditioning, welding and fabrication.
At the graduation ceremony which was held at the National Cultural Centre, Minister of Social Cohesion Dr George Norton said the progammes are designed to empower school dropouts to either start their own business or gain employment.
“Today we celebrate the beginning of a new prosperous journey for 96 young people…over the past six months the staff of the Sophia Training Centre has been working with you to develop important skills that can help you to transform your lives,” the Minister said.
Among the top graduating trainees are two females who were recognized for excelling in plumbing, refrigeration and air conditioning.
“It is important to note that our females have ventured into the none-traditional areas that for some reason or the other have been dominated by the male counterparts,” Dr Norton pointed out.
The programme started on February 11 this year with 126 young unskilled trainees.
“I am encouraged to see that so many of you have been able to weather the storm to complete this programme, I would have been much more happy to have 100% graduating,” the Minister said.
Senior Training Officer, Brian King said throughout the training the youths benefitted from stipends, daily meals and educational tours.
King noted, “The programme offers continuous educational achievements to out of school, unskilled, unemployed youths with technical and vocational skills and other life skills for personal and national development in a disciplined environment.”
The overall best graduating trainee is Isaiah Knights.
He told his peers there can never be success without hard work.
“We endured many challenging times, being here today have proven the good proverbs –the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory-despite our struggles they were exciting and rewarding moments that will forever be remembered,” the best graduating trainee said.
The students were also awarded for their discipline, cooperation, skills in entrepreneurship, English Language and Mathematics.
Trainees from each programme also had their work on display at the ceremony and were encouraged to develop their trade and continuously upgrade their skills.