One hundred young participants enrolled in this year’s World of Work (WOW) at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) are learning skills to equip them later in life.
Yesterday, the participants were given a chance to put these skills and knowledge into practice as they were placed in vacation jobs.
Julien Skeete, youth programme co-ordinator with the THA Division of Sport and Youth Affairs – which is hosting the programme – said WOW gives students opportunities for vacation jobs while helping them identify and embark on career paths.
The programme is designed to help students between 16 and 18 prepare for employment opportunities.
Skeete said, “The purpose and objectives of World of Work is primarily about bridging that gap between the high school and the world of work.
So it really looks at the 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds, whether just out of fifth form or sixth form and seeking to teach those skills relevant to the workspace. But more than that, skills that can help them to build themselves and build their capacity as individuals.”
During the programme, participants receive training in a combination of areas including conflict resolution, conflict management and how they treat with that, financial management and investment, budgeting, office etiquette, general etiquette and dress codes.
“Some of the focus areas also include communication skills, public speaking skills, resume writing, cover letters, interview skills…All these areas help to be able to promote and to encourage. And we’ll continue with our social media management, which would have been introduced last year – very successful session.”
Skeete said another component has been added to the programme this year.
“A session that looks at one’s patriotism and exploring Tobago – getting to know about Tobago. The idea behind the Explore Tobago session is primarily based on as young persons we want to build that spirit within our community, where it is that we recognise that we all have a collective responsibility in terms of becoming familiar with where we live, where we reside. and to kind of recognise our individual responsibility to begin by knowing, in the first place as an individual or as a young person, before we can even begin to share and to engage.”
Skeete said the training period was expanded this year in an effort to have an even further reach.
"This year we would have also extended resume writing, public speaking, communication skills, interview skills, also looking at cover letter and so on to a two-day training session, where both facilitators would have facilitated the first day primarily going through related details and so on with them and the second day went into more practice and practical work.”
He said the programme, which began in 2009, was oversubscribed as over 250 people applied.
“As you are aware, it’s no longer exclusively about theory. but it's really all about how I can apply what I have learnt and, more than that, some of the basic tips and tricks that you ought to know as someone entering the workspace regarding your capacity and your ability to function in that environment generally and in the workplace."
Skeete said so far, the applicants are all amped for the programme and “they are honest, in some instances, about not knowing and they’ve never been a part of an interview and this is new to them. But there is really an eagerness to learn and to get to that point where there is a better understanding.”