By Darrion Narine
Acting Chair, CCSJ and Programme Manager, AMMR
World Youth Skills Day was recognised on July 15, 2022. The globe has moved towards the empowerment of young people and the recognition of their contributions, especially when planning to build a sustainable future.
Young people are developing new skills and innovating, creating a new world filled with advancements in technology, industry, and social development. However, in Trinidad and Tobago we are faced with a great challenge. Many young people are not given the space to innovate and create.
Youth unemployment and underemployment is on the rise and many young people are forced into areas where they have little to no expertise.
I do not think that the answer to this problem is further government intervention. The Government already provides many people in Trinidad and Tobago with jobs, and it is not sustainable. Rather, the onus is on the Government to create policies that allow for innovation amongst young people. The ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago is extremely low. The processes to establish or set up businesses takes quite some time, and the funding models are not practical for a young innovator or entrepreneur.
Young people have skills that can make them game changers but if we do not develop the industries and spaces in Trinidad and Tobago to nurture and grow these skills, we will lose out.
Falling into the category of youth myself and having visited different regions and countries across the globe, I see the potential for our twin island state. We should have tech innovators, health innovators and a booming arts scene right here in T&T.
What stops our film or music industry from growing and competing on a global scale? Our economy needs to become more export focused and there should be easier linkages to the global markets for businesses and products here.
Things that are so simple across the globe to set up (like online payments for people outside of your country) are difficult to establish here. Therefore, even if a young person wants to try to sell their product internationally on their own, processes and unnecessary bureaucracy hinder them.
Even setting up a bank account is extremely difficult unless you have a “traditional job”.
I know of so many young entrepreneurs who are without a bank account because their work is not recognised as a “proper job”.
The acknowledgement of the skills of young people is one thing but developing a space to nurture future thinkers and innovators should be a priority. No longer should we only be pushing children to become doctors or lawyers. We need to move beyond this mindset and start looking at the new and emerging jobs that are needed to develop our sectors here and push our nation forward.
Youth unemployment and underemployment can be rectified if we encourage more innovation. Hopefully, God will give us the grace to have a new vision for a more advanced and developed T&T.
SOCIAL JUSTICE QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“We likewise believe that Christ shed his blood for each of us and that no one is beyond the scope of his universal love. If we go to the ultimate source of that love which is the very life of the triune God, we encounter in the community of the three divine Persons, the origin and perfect model of all life in society. Theology continues to be enriched by its reflection on this great truth.”—
– Pope Francis, Fratelli Tuitti (85).
CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee