Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is encouraging participants of the Youth Summer Employment Programme (YSEP) to make good use of the opportunity it presents.
“We are saying to young people, this is an opportunity to start life. It is a small job, but at least it gives you responsibility and I am quite sure that many of our young people will take it, step up to the plate and demonstrate their abilities,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The Minister, who was addressing a digital town hall hosted by the Ministry on July 30, highlighted that the programme was not a political one but one that “requires every participant to work – not to go out there and do canvassing, and not to go out there to do activities that are not related to the Ministry”.
Mr. McKenzie added that instructions have been given to bar participants from the programme who “fall out of line” during their stint.
Some 5,000 youth across the island are slated to participate in the YSEP, which will commence on August 10 and end on September 14 of this year.
The Minister noted that the four-week programme has been scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Because of COVID-19, we are not able to have an expansive Youth Summer Employment Programme like we did for the last few years, where for two months we employed these young people,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The participants of the programme are set to assist in the audit of street lights, an activity which was started by the previous cohort of youth employees, as well as assist local authorities with other tasks.
“They will work with the local authorities in bringing up to date some of the outstanding financial records, and they will continue to form a part of that core COVID-19 monitoring team, headed by the Social Development Commission (SDC), that will be going around the country to pass on information about COVID activities,” the Minister outlined.
“Each of these young persons will receive $20,000 on a fortnightly basis, so for the four weeks, they will receive $40,000 as we [try to] help these young people to go back to school and to help with the responsibilities that some of them have,” Mr. McKenzie said.
Since the inception of the programme in 2017, more than 600 participants have found employment in the Ministry and various municipalities across the country, while 250 of the youth have been certified by the HEART/NSTA Trust.
The town hall was held to inform citizens about the achievements of agencies that fall under the Ministry as well as to outline their future plans.