Photo caption: Ms. Azilla Clarke, focal point for OECS/USAID Juvenile Justice Reform Project in St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister and Social Development in the Nevis Island Administration, and Ms. Sandra Maynard, Director of the Department of Social Services on Nevis at the October 27, 2020 opening of the “Yes To Success” skills training and diversion site at Pinney’s Estate, Nevis
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (October 28, 2020) – The Department of Social Services, in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), on October 27, 2020, officially commissioned the “Yes to Success” (YTS) skills training and diversion site at Pinney’s Estate.
The YTS programme is a collaboration between the Nevis government, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
At the grand opening, Director of the Department of Social Services Ms. Sandra Maynard credited Minister of Social Development Hon. Eric Evelyn and the NIA for making the YTS site a reality.
“How did we get here? Our Minister Evelyn’s commitment to youth development, he embraced this programme from the minute he stepped into office. He has been and continues to be a stalwart of youth and community work. As such, although the programme itself had already started, when we needed infrastructural setup, NIA funds were allocated for this construction.
“Permanent Secretary Keith Glasgow and Social Services Director’s membership on the National Advisory Board of the YES Project, which incorporated the [Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States] OECS Juvenile Justice Reform [Project], was instrumental in helping us to stay abreast of and make good use of a wealth of training for our staff and resources for this site, she said.
She explained that while the YTS building is a modest set up, the department has big plans for it.
The YTS programme offers youth counselling, skills training and job search assistance.
“The YTS programme itself is targeted to youth who have potential to be productive citizens, although they may not have completed school with the highest academic qualifications; young persons who are in need of a second chance because of serious incidents in school with past employers or who have had small scale offences in court; young persons who are finding it difficult to compete in the job market.
“At YTS, we focus on youth whose skills and talents should be developed and valued as much as or perhaps arguably more than their more academically-accomplished peers,” Maynard said.
The director explained that under the programme, youths who apply are subject to risk assessment, and once accepted, are engaged in personal development sessions. They then undergo weeks of skills training, and are placed in work internships for practical application of what they have learnt.
Hon. Eric Evelyn, Minister of Social Development, who declared the site open, said he believes with the launch of the project, better days are certainly coming for the young people of Nevis.
“I am very proud that this project, even though we are launching today, has already impacted so many young persons. You heard the statistics that were given by the Director Ms. Sandra Maynard. We have touched the lives of over 70 young people in a few short years and that shows that this programme is tailored to ensure that our young people are part of the thrust of the development of the island of Nevis,” he said.
Noting the significant investment it took to establish the site, Mr. Evelyn admonished the young people who would be attending training at the YTS site to take care of the building and equipment.
The YTS programme offers three- to four-month training periods in one of three training areas offered annually.
For the period October 2020 to January 2021, participants in the programme have the options of pottery-making, heavy equipment operation and a digital jobs training course.