- GWEP is meant to address the long standing issue of increasing the employability of inexperienced graduates.
- The GWEP is designed to provide work experience for graduates aged 17 to 24 years.
- The initiative was conceptualised due to the difficulty experienced by many graduates in finding employment because of a lack of previous experience.
The National Youth Service (NYS) has rolled out its Graduate Work Experience Programme (GWEP), to address the long standing issue of increasing the employability of inexperienced graduates, who are seeking to enter the labour force.
The GWEP, which was formally introduced by the NYS last week, is designed to provide work experience for graduates aged 17 to 24 years. These graduates will now have an opportunity to develop workplace skills, while increasing their self-confidence, by being able to complement their theoretical knowledge with practical work experience.
Executive Director of the NYS, Melvin Smith, said the initiative was conceptualised due to the difficulty experienced by many graduates in finding employment because of a lack of previous experience.
“We wanted to provide an avenue to assist graduates to gain some of this work experience, so they can be more readily and easily absorbed into the marketplace where jobs are available,” he explained.
The six-month pilot was introduced in February with 11 persons. They were involved in four areas of operation at the NYS offices, mainly finance and accounts, marketing and communication, office management and procurement and programmes.
“We provided the interns with valuable experience as well as empowerment sessions and engaged them in volunteerism, as part of an entire package preparing them for the world of work,” Mr. Smith said.
Some of the 11 interns, he said, were able to obtain permanent jobs at private and public sector institutions, even before the end of the pilot programme, while a few opted to further their studies in their respective fields.
“We believe the results have confirmed that it is a good programme that can be very useful and can add value to the lives of our graduates,” he said.
One of the interns, Shadee Grant, who participated in the pilot project, said it was an opportunity to get valuable work experience and to give back to society.
A recent graduate of the Northern Caribbean University, she assisted with the promotion, planning and co-ordination of the NYS Summer Programme, one of the agency’s flagship programmes.
“It was eye-opening to know that it takes so much effort to co-ordinate a programme that is so important and has been around for so many years,” she said, noting that every day there was a new task to fulfil.