$22m Apprenticeship Scheme ‘Not Like 52-Week Programme’


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE government will launch a $22m apprenticeship programme aimed to reduce youth unemployment, Prime Minister Christie announced during his 2016/2017 Budget Communication yesterday.

The programme will be jointly managed by the Office of the Prime Minister and the National Training Agency, he said.

Mr Christie said yesterday that under the government’s new programme, $22m has been allocated so people can be “paid to work and train in a very formal manner, with certification on completion of the apprenticeship period”.

Perhaps anticipating criticism, Mr Christie said the programme is unlike the 52-week jobs programme created by the former Ingraham administration in 2011 that was bashed by the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), then in opposition, as an attempt to sway votes ahead of the 2012 general election.

That programme paid and placed Bahamians who were unsuccessful at finding jobs in various positions in both the private and government sector. The employers then had the option to permanently hire the workers if they so desired after 52 weeks.

In criticising the plan, the PLP said some people paid under the scheme did not show up to work.

In speaking yesterday about his government’s new apprenticeship programme, Mr Christie said: “The programme differs from the jobs programme introduced by the previous administration in that it is not strictly about job placement for the unemployed but rather training to ensure that persons are able to attract and retain long-term employment.

“The government also intends to employ immediately individuals from the apprenticeship programme to work on the creation of two green spaces for public use in New Providence. One will be situated at Lake Killarney and the other, at the National Heroes Park, in an area just south of the Botanical Gardens. We have promised a National Heroes Park and now it is being brought about.

“Young people with an aptitude and willingness to learn professional landscaping will be engaged to assist with the development of these green spaces and will be apprenticed to professional and skilled landscapers. Both of these projects will be co-ordinated and managed by the Parks and Beaches Authority with Lake Killarney being done in concert with Bahamas National Trust and the Nature Conservancy,” he said.

Mr Christie said the programme is structured similarly to a programme that already exists between the government and the Grand Bahama Shipyard Ltd (GBSL). The GBSL plan is expected, he said, to increase its intake under its apprentice programme “for skilled trades to 40 per year, of which roughly three quarters will be trade apprentices and one quarter technical/commercial apprentices.”

He added: “At the end of the training period, the trainees will be assessed and certified by external, US examiners and will then work alongside experienced workers for a six- to 12-month period to become fully proficient in their respective trades.”

Mr Christie similarly announced last year that $20m was allocated through Urban Renewal to deal with youth unemployment. That programme was launched in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank.

Specifics were not given, but Labour and National Insurance Minister Shane Gibson said that programme would identify at-risk youth and provide them with “training and capacity building” that would equip them with new skills.

There has not yet been a public accounting of the progress made under that programme.

Nonetheless, according to data by the Department of Statistics in December, youth unemployment increased by nearly five per cent in the second part of last year compared to the previous period for which a survey was conducted.

The unemployment rate for people aged 15 to 29 was recorded at 30 per cent.

Yesterday, Mr Christie also said, within the fiscal year, the government will seek to bring the number of temporary and contractual workers to an irreducible minimum.


Alex_Charles 3 years, 1 month ago

"It's not a 52 week plan, it's just really similar to the 52 week plan"


cmiller 3 years, 1 month ago

What happens after 52 weeks, when these businesses still can't hire these workers just like they can't hire them today?


ThisIsOurs 3 years, 1 month ago

I don't buy the "this is completely different", but I do like the idea that they'll be training people to take care of green spaces. Because they must have contracted a butcher to maintain most, if not all, of the refurbished verges put in place after the road works project. They cut that grass to death.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

Beware of the PLP voodoo economics this year


John 3 years, 1 month ago

Anything that cuts into youth unemployment and puts money in the hands of young people is a good move. This may be part of the the stimulus needed to get the economy moving forward. If Bah Mar does finally get open and brings new money into the economy then there can be economic relief for many struggling and long suffering Bahamians.


sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

These young Bahamians generally do not even want to WORK ........ much less hold a job ............ They live in the Internet Age where it is believed that they all become instant millionaires from making a song or developing a "start-up" etc. ......... it is cool to be an "on-line junkie" in search of the elusive dream ............. Ingraham had several good youth programmes going but they were either hi-jacked or politcised around 2012 ...... then youth crime/unemployment went through the roof for the past 5 years ......... no genius needed there


TruePeople 3 years, 1 month ago

so making music or developing a start up business isn't work??? If only more young people were really doing that...



sheeprunner12 3 years, 1 month ago

Many young people have been hoodwinked into believing that sports or internet gimmicks can make them millionaires .......... for every 1 that succeeds, maybe a few hundred just end up chasing an elusive dream ..... that is my point ........... if there is genuine talent or enough sweat equity, a person will succeed at any endeavor or passion ...... but many of our youth do not apply themselves to any interest or skill to realistically succeed


SEEKJESUSPLEASE 3 years, 1 month ago

Every idea came from the FNM Manifesto...just look. Just like all these laws they are passing came from the United Nations. Read up Bahamas. Google UN Agenda 21. The Bahamas signed on, and already agreed on the LGBT rights, etc. They have you all for fools and laughing stocks! Nothing that they have done during their reign was a brain-child! It was all mandated by the United Nations! Yes, the United nations. The referendum, so why such a simple human right is being done through a referendum. All any Government need to do, is the right humane thing. It goes that if two people marry, and one is a foreigner, so what! they should be able to work and get permanent residency without all this hogwash! After-all they have to feed their families just like any other human being. So stop the political games and go back to the Bible and take heed..God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!


unknownsource242 2 years, 8 months ago

Sadely I have been trying the 52 weeks job programme when it first commenced in August 2016 if I'm correct. I feel so depressed that I am doing all it takes to secure a spot currenly. I even went to a few politicians to get on the list but they were all empty promises. I am doing everything in my power to get employed. I will admit that over the years I have messed up in receiving a proper education. I'm a smart individual who can do anything and I will get everything that I have not gotten with my faith and continuous efforts . What hope is there for people who are trying to get another opportunity or for people who just are in need of work to do things for themselves and as well as for their families. I hope that we as people can better the system in the Bahamas. I empathize with all those job hunters who seek help from different departments I encourage you all to... "Stay Encouraged My People And Nothing Is Impossible Once You Believe In yourselves''.


unknownsource242 2 years, 8 months ago

Successful minds always try to create other opprtunities in life...


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