Government Injects $500,000 into Apprenticeship Programme

The government of Dominica is committed to assisting young people to develop new skills in an effort to generate income and become productive citizens.

Minister for Trade, Hon. Dr. John Colin McIntyre spoke of this commitment during a recent interview with GIS news.

The minister's comments came on the heels of a visit to the Titou Gorge where a reception facility is currently being constructed by a group of young people.

“In the budget this year we have allocated 500 thousand dollars which is half a million for programmes that will assist young people to develop and hone their skills. We are looking at the needs of the country and based on that people can choose areas that they are interested in.  Often times, it’s difficult to find a plumber so we’d like to train more young men and women to become plumbers.”

The Minister stated further that based on the demands and the requests that the small business support unit is receiving, the need to train people and equip them for the future is becoming more and more significant.

“This is what will help our country a lot because not everyone will make it to University but it doesn’t mean that because someone doesn’t attend University that they do not have a skill.  These young people have their strength, and they are loaded with energy and instead of just allowing them to fall by the wayside and be unproductive, Government has injected funds into an apprenticeship programme.”

Government recognizes that the development of a country is highly dependent on the strength of its young people and has found it important to equip these young people with the proper tools.

The 2012/2012 Budget address, under the theme, “Fulfilling the Social Contract/Remaining focused in the midst of Economic Turbulence,” states that, “In an effort to more closely align the skills base to the requirements of the labour market, and in response to complaints from a number of businesses on the difficulties they encounter in recruiting skilled workers, a revised apprenticeship programme will be introduced.

Under this revised programme, “partner enterprises” will be invited and contracted to provide on the job training to trainees for a period of six months.  Government will contribute three hundred and fifty dollars a month to each “partner enterprise” as a contribution to the compensation package to each intern.

This initiative will be coordinated by the Employment Agency and will cater for two cohorts of two hundred trainees in the first instance, thus preparing four hundred people for the job market.  Government will contribute five hundred thousand dollars to this endeavor.