Developing a successful youth business to help boost the local economy is at the heart of the recently launched Job Creation through Private Sector Development (GEPSED) program by the European Development Fund (EDF) – a collaborative undertaking to be implemented between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Saint Lucia (GOSL).

The significance of the project was underscored during this week’s media launch, where key stakeholders associated with this component gave an overview of the basics of the program.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Youth Economy and National Authorizing Officer (ON), Claudius Emmanuel highlighted the particularities of this EDF project and the impact it can create on the socio-economic development of the country.

“This now allows us to join forces with the European Union to solve an important problem in the lives of young people, namely the mismatch between the skills produced by the education system and what is required of the labor market”, he said. -he declares.

“And so this job generation project allows us to do just that. And so it is a wonderful opportunity for young people to get in touch with what the new government has presented as a major initiative, the youth economy,” added Emanuel.

He further noted that there was “great excitement” among NAO staff members “as we play our part in setting up the platform to be able to deliver this very important project.”

The GEPSED program aims to contribute to job creation and private sector development in Saint Lucia. With increased support for the implementation of the Saint Lucia National TVET Policy and Strategy 2019 – 2025; stakeholders foresee that this initiative can contribute to the development of a dynamic, competitive and resilient workforce, with a particular focus on the unemployed, youth, women and identified marginalized groups.

The program will also enable better alignment of education and training systems to meet labor market needs. Ultimately, this development will contribute to creating employment opportunities, reducing structural unemployment and contributing to the development of the private sector, in the general direction of the country’s economic policy.
economic growth and development.

The EU Ambassador to Barbados and OECS countries, Malgorzata Wasilewska, spoke of the good bilateral diplomatic relations that have lasted between the EU and Saint Lucia and that she was pleased with the launch of this latest youth project.

The ambassador said that discussions on this venture “started a long time ago”, and during the week, “we will be able to launch a program which will be able to provide vocational training for a lot of young people who can fill the void”. what the industry needs and different aspects of your economic need”.

Ambassador Wasilewska is optimistic that this program will be realized “for the benefit of the people”.

The Ambassador noted that at the end of the program, two years from now, it would be gratifying to see that “we can also celebrate the results and added value of the training, we can say that so many young people have benefited from this industry and are working in creating jobs…and helping the industry to thrive for the best of the country’s economy, so we can consider that a success.

Prime Minister Phillip Pierre acknowledged the support and contribution of the EU Delegation to work diligently towards the implementation of this development agenda.
He revealed that the grant of 6.17 million EU dollars allocated to this program is timely and relevant for the socio-economic development of the country, while acknowledging the contribution of other ministries concerned in this endeavor.

Pierre noted that Education Minister Shawn Edward has advocated for the transformation of the education system “to enable different people with different skills to contribute meaningfully even if they lack the necessary certification or conventional certification”.

The Prime Minister added: “The launch theme… ‘TVET as an economic engine delivering opportunities for all in 2022 and beyond’ resonates with the Government of Saint Lucia’s priority to leave no one behind and of ‘putting people first’.

He explained, “TVET can be seen as lifelong learning that could include many participants…and that this project can provide several opportunities for all of our people as we seek social prosperity. and continuous economics for all. TVET will strive to provide a skilled and capable workforce suited to the needs of the world of work.

He said the government is committed to supporting “this
Investment in people as it seeks to help meet labor market demands and correct existing gaps.

Prime Minister Pierre asserted that with a priority focus on youth employment: “This project is an essential intervention for facilities prepared for the ever-changing working environment that demands different skills, especially in the use of technology. »

There is an allocation of two separate tranches to fund the program; on the one hand an equivalent to 50% of the sum of 2.9 M€ presented last December, and on the other hand a tranche which represents 25% of the budget. In the process, the National Authorizing Officer’s Office (NAO) and the Saint Lucia Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (SLCTVET) carried out several activities to move the project forward.

According to government sources, these funds are acclimatized to achieve the following four goals by November 2022;

Allow 600 trainees to access an internship program (minimum three months) within the industry by November 30. (disaggregated by gender, age, disability);

Provide 300 certificates (CVQ and NVQ) issued by the TVET Council by November 30 (disaggregated by gender, age and disabilities);

Registration of a minimum of 400 entries/data entries from industry, TVET Council, training providers and Ministry of Labor by 30 November.

Register 100 people in the physical workforce

Development Center by November 30.

Other aspects of this week’s program launch include a press conference and signing ceremony between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) Investment Facility for MSME; An Opening Ceremony, Career Fair – held Wednesday at Constitution Park and an Opening Ceremony – Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Industry Liaison Forum , which was held Thursday at the Finance Administrative Center.