Melissa Carmichael was recently appointed to the position of Director of Youth, in the Ministry of Education’s, Culture Youth and Sport Department. Carmichael has disclosed that very early on, she plans to tackle major issues affecting youth development, and to do so in an organised manner.
Director of Youth Melissa Carmichael
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), the Youth Director said that her main concern is the level of unemployment among youths. A study from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) shows that the unemployment rate among youths is at 40 percent in Guyana.
Acknowledging that, Carmichael noted that government has the responsibility for providing an environment where youths can flourish.
In June 2016, a National Youth Policy was presented in the National Assembly by the Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry. Carmichael said that the policy will direct her actions for youth development.
“We would have to use the policy to put forward any plan or projection from the department for the youths, we will no longer be working haphazardly, but we will be guided,” the Youth Director stated.
The policy outlines a number of initiatives and training programmes which will foster well-rounded individuals. According to Carmichael, young people are not efficiently trained for the job market available in Guyana.
The Youth Director explained “what the department and myself are looking to do, is to ensure that we provide training that is aligned with what is out there in the job market.”
Youths at the recently observed International Youth Day
Carmichael disclosed that very soon, a number of meetings will be held with youth organisations around the country to determine the issues affecting them.
By conducting the meetings, Carmichael stated that the department would then be able to properly assess what’s happening, and put forward proper recommendations and proposals.
Youth development remains on the front burner for government. This can be seen by the number of youth training programmes that are being conducted. These include the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme, the Youth Leadership Training Programme, the Hinterland Employment and Youth Service (HEYS) Programme, National Training Programme for Youth Employment (NTPYE) under the auspices of the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and the Sustainable Livelihood Entrepreneurship Development (SLED) initiative among others.