National Internship & Apprenticeship Program aims to give young people job experience to secure gainful employment
COCKBURN TOWN, TURKS & CAICOS — A new partnership between the government and local businesses is looking to create a clear pathway to jobs in Turks and Caicos for the country’s youth.
The National Internship & Apprenticeship Program was just recently launched, with government officials commending a room full of private sector partners for taking part in what is expected to result in dozens more jobs for Turks & Caicos Islanders.
Wesley Clerveaux, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Services, emphasized that the programme is targeting not just young students but also recent graduates who may be struggling to secure employment.
Many Caribbean nations have faced a common challenge when it comes to ensuring gainful employment for their highly educated youth.
Every year, hundreds of high school graduates leave the region to pursue higher education abroad. But the problem lies in the difficulty most face once they graduate and return home, as many are unable to find suitable employment.
One of the issues leading to this predicament is many new graduates lack the relevant work experience local companies demand.
But TCI’s National Internship & Apprenticeship Program seeks to address this, thereby giving young natives a direct pipeline to suitable jobs.
Better job opportunities in Turks & Caicos
Permanent Secretary Clerveaux emphasized that this new initiative will focus on the development of human capital that will be a boon for students and companies alike.
“From years we’ve heard from you, our partners, public and private, saying the cry out that our students need more experience, need more exposure,” he noted.
“We need to build the human capacity in the Turks & Caicos Islands by giving them more experience.”
But he also noted, “We have heard the cries of the students as well, that have said that they come back from school and they can’t get proper placement.”
To this end, he said, the new programme will effectively kill two birds with one stone.
He also stressed the difference between interns and apprentices, specifying that “an apprenticeship is someone who has completed their studies, completed a particular tertiary education and is now transitioning to the world of work”.
“The apprenticeship programme…is supposed to allow those students coming back from school to be understudying someone at the workplace until they find possibly employment at your workplace or elsewhere,” Clerveaux explained.