THA Finance and Enterprise Development Secretary Dr Anselm London has described the innovative young professionals programme to be established in the next fiscal year as “perhaps the most far-reaching initiative” of the Assembly’s $4.38 billion budget he presented on Monday.
He said the initiative seeks to engage young professionals between 18 and 35 in all fields of endeavour, in various work experience programmes aimed at engaging them in more permanent working experiences. He added that among the initiatives to be undertaken are mentorship placement programmes; corporate sector sponsorship; and business incubation.
Dr London stressed that it was not an “elitist programme” restricted to the traditionally described “professional” and said it aims to respond to the needs of the doctor, the scientist and the engineer, as well as to those of the tailor, the mason, the carpenter and other graduates from programmes such as YTEPP and MUST.
He said within the context of the young professionals programme there will be the Youths Energised for Success or the Y.E.S. Programme which will embrace persons from all areas of vocation. The objectives of the Y.E.S. Programme are to develop a cadre of qualified world-class youths in various fields that are critical to the island’s development; to preserve and secure the advances and investments in education and enterprise development over the last 10 years and prepare a new generation of leaders; to certify a skilled and unskilled workforce on the island in the areas of carpentry, masonry, plumbing, electrical installation, and other related fields; to provide resources for closing gaps which currently exist in both the private and public sectors in important specialist areas, to provide employment; to promote a culture of excellence, innovation and creativity; and to prepare Tobagonians for a changing world view, as it relates to development of the island and specifically to the diversification of the economy.
Dr London noted that the programme will adopt a competency-based approach to employment and development utilising methods of assessment and testing to determine the “learning journey” for the participants.
He said the Assembly was aware that a programme of succession management was critical if Tobago was to ensure continuity. He said the THA had in its possession the names of more than 400 graduates from various disciplines, representing a pool of trained and trainable individuals who can be selected to be successors to critical positions in the Assembly and in other critical sectors on the island.