Youth Empowerment Day a Success, say Stakeholders

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Director of Youth in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Darron Turnquest speaks to L. W. Young Junior High School students during the recent Youth Empowerment Day event at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute. More than 500 students from almost 20 government and private schools took part in the event.

NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) representatives and other youth stakeholders said the recent Youth Empowerment Day event, held at the institute, was successful and attracted more than 500 students from almost 20 New Providence schools.

“It was so good to see the numbers of students out today because really you do not always see the response from the schools sufficiently; but today the schools definitely showed up and showed off,” Director of Youth in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Darron Turnquest said at the event.

“Our ministry sees empowerment as a very important tool for young people and also a tool that assist in removing some of the current societal ills that we have in this country,” he added.

Mr. Turnquest said the National Youth Empowerment Day was launched this year and facilitated a sampling of ninth and 10th-grade students from various government and private schools, showing them the various opportunities for self-development at BTVI.

“This day is really geared towards these young people, to show them what options are available to them nationally in this country, in terms of technical and vocational careers, making certain that they see this as a way to empower themselves and enable them to be successful in our country, ” Mr. Turnquest added.

“I thank the administration of BTVI for partnering with us because we know that we cannot do it alone,” Mr. Turnquest said.

BTVI Registrar Julia Gay said they were excited that BTVI was able to expose the students from the junior level to the trades that they offer.

Director of Youth in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Darron Turnquest speaks to St. John’s College students during the recent Youth Empowerment Day event at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute. More than 500 students from almost 20 government and private schools took part in the event.

“I think it would give them some preparedness and a level of understanding of what the trades are about and to, hopefully, make technical and vocational education a choice, as they enter into the workplace,” Ms. Gay said.

Director of Junior Achievement Bahamas John Darville said that the number of students who showed up for the event was “quite encouraging.”

“It shows that the ministry is on the right track towards supporting the development needs of all sets of young people,” Mr. Darville said.

“It is, indeed, important that we promote activities that support the development of all career fields.  Junior Achievement specifically is quite interested in this effort of the ministry, as it caters to our pillar of work-readiness, in terms of our curricular objectives with Junior Achievement and our worldwide organisation.”

“We are keen to provide any support that the ministry would request in that regard,” Mr. Darville added.

Corporal 2602 Burrows of the Police Training College said the event was an opportunity to highlight to the students the benefits of a law enforcement career.

“It gave them a chance to understand that being a police officer encompasses more than just going and walking a beat,” Corporal Burrows said.  “There are areas that they could expand their skills in, whether they work in the forensics lab or the medical lab.

“They could even be like me and become a trainer at the Police Training College,” he added.  “There are so many career paths that you could take in becoming a part of the Royal Bahamas Police Force that a lot of people really do not know about.  Once the students got the information, they had a better appreciation for law enforcement.”

Mr. Turnquest said that Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture the Hon. Charles Maynard wanted to have ninth and 10-grade students at the events so that they could “plant the seed” in the students’ minds concerning the career path they might want to follow.

“Some of our young people are not academically inclined and some are academically-inclined, but choose not to take the academic route; so we want to make sure that they can see the opportunities available to them in the technical and vocational quadrants of education,” he said.

“It is a great partnership event,” Ms. Gay added.  “We have not been able to get to most of the junior schools; so this gives them an opportunity to come in and get a view of what we have to offer them.”

Mr. Turnquest lauded the work of event co-ordinator Ingrid Sears-Deveaux, who was instrumental in ensuring that the event was a success.

“It was an event that was well-executed and well received by the students, as well the administration of BTVI,” he said.

Ms. Sears-Deveaux said that she wanted the young people to know that there is more out there than just the College of The Bahamas and non-vocational institutions for local tertiary education and that BTVI is a great institution that offers the gateway to a number of various career paths.

“I am very pleased with how the event unfolded today, I am very pleased with the numbers and the male-to-female ratio that showed up,” Ms. Sears-Deveaux said.  “I was happy to see the number of male students who showed up at the Youth Empowerment Day.”

“If we could make a difference in the lives of only 100 of these students, then we would be doing our job in the ministry,” Mr. Turnquest said.