More than 300 single parents who over the past year have undergone training in various areas will soon benefit from government assistance to start up micro businesses to economically empower themselves, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) Alana Brassington said.
Having gone through training in the areas of cosmetology, sewing, catering, Office Procedures and Information Technology among others, the 377 single parents are expected to receive vouchers for $65,000 each to assist them in their business ventures.
Meanwhile, some 1,750 young people between the ages of 15 and 25 have been trained under the National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE) in over 70 skills, causing Brassington to deem the work of the institute a success. But there is no data to support this conclusion as BIT has no way of tracking the young people who were trained to ascertain whether they have gained employment and if their lives have improved. However, it is expected that this will be remedied soon as the institute is in the process to establishing a database precisely for this reason.
The NTPYE project was launched by President Bharrat Jagdeo in 2005 and he had hoped that some 5,000 out of school youths would have been trained during that period. It is funded by government subvention and has been described as an initiative that is part of administration’s strategy to reduce the level of unemployment and improve the living standards of citizens.
According to Brassington, the NTPYE prepares young people to enter the job market with on-the-job training. And it does not train persons in abstract; the institute keeps abreast with the needs of the job market and trains persons to fill vacancies around the country.
The programme recently commenced training youths as driver-salesmen/women and heavy-duty operators as of last year, before there was a great demand for such persons.
According to Brassington, the single parent programme, which has received a $25 million government subvention, aims to train another 500 persons this year.
She said last year 412 persons were placed in training with 375 persons completing the programme.
The CEO said her office is now currently working on preparing the $65,000 vouchers for the single parents, which they would use to purchase basic tools to start their businesses.
“Once they have completed the programme they will get the assistance,” she told Stabroek News in a recent interview.
The institute only trains single parents from the single parent database since it would have had a verification process – all those who would have registered.
While the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security was preparing the national single parent database the parents were given choices on what sort of assistance they wanted. Some asked for day care assistance, others asked for small business grants and yet others for training. Those who asked for grants are the ones being trained even though there is another programme through public assistance which facilitates giving some start up funds to small businesses.
The database was created in an effort to assist single parents who are unable to provide for their children owing to various circumstances.