A new Board has been appointed to the Department of Advance Training and Advisory Services of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).
The department, previously known as the Financial Assistant Unit is chaired by Selby Leslie. Members are secondary school teacher Ruthlyn Antoine, young professional Natasha Duke, experienced professional Lydia Jones, sitting Administrator in the Divisional of Development and Planning Oscar Braithwaite and sitting administrator in the Division of Education, Youth Affairs and Sport Allyson Lawrence, the latter two appointments are for the posts and not the persons.
In making the announcement at Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing Chief Secretary Orville London said the name change was made because the name financial assistance gave the impression that the main focus was funding for persons seeking tertiary education.
He said it was more than that and now that it was reconfigured the department would provide advisory services as well. He said a number of people came to the financial services unit intent on doing what they liked or what they felt they should do without necessarily having the kind of information that would allow them to make choices which would benefit them in the future.
London said many of these people when they graduated down the road found themselves in a position where they have a degree but they remained unemployed and in the present climate unemployable; there were areas of surplus and areas where there was a dirt of skills and trained individuals. He said there was also a monitoring system in place to guide and counsel the students while they were at the educational institution.
London added that there was also a placement aspect of the department to liaise with the returning student to ensure they got the best advice in fitting into the workplace. He said prospective employers in the public and private sectors would also be given information on the number of returning graduates and their skills.
“We are hoping that at the end of the exercise we are going to have a unit that was much more amenable to the kind of challenges facing young people today and much more relevant and one that would be able to respond more effectively to provide services more effectively to the young people of Tobago,” he said.