Select Page

Caribbean Workshop Report

June 18 – 24, 2018 – Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

Jeremy Lefroy MP, and David Woollcombe, are very grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat for affording the Global Campaign for Youth Employment the opportunity to participate in, and speak at, the Commonwealth Youth Employment Workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, from June 20 – 22, 2018.

The Workshop:
The Workshop was very well attended with participation, and leadership, from national Youth Directors and young entrepreneurs whose concerns were heard – and whose recommendations were incorporated into the National Action Plans that were prepared by each national participating group. The presentations were uniformly excellent, well-informed and to the point – and the ensuing discussions were searching with a welcome capacity to think outside the box. Finally, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs were attentive hosts – and gave every delegate a rich taste of the wonderful cultures and foods of Trinidad & Tobago.

Advancing the work of the GCYE:
The Workshop also gave David Woollcombe, co-founder of GCYE, the opportunity to distribute copies of our booklet, the Case for Urgent Action on Youth Employment – and to road test an early draft of our bench-marking questionnaire. He also had formal meetings with possible Trinidad & Tobago National GCYE Board Members. Most significant of these was with the Hon. Shamfa Cudjoe, Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, and member of parliament for Tobago West. She agreed, subject to Cabinet approval, to chair the National Board – and launch the Global Campaign’s programme in Trinidad and Tobago during Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 12-18 2018. Further significant meetings were held with Gabriel Faria, CEO of the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry & Commerce and David Dulal-Whiteway, CEO, and Nirmala Maharaj of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business. Both organisations confirmed that they would support the Minister by working on, or with, the National Board.

The Results of the GCYE Bench-marking Survey:
We in the GCYE would like to thank every person that took the time to be interviewed for our draft Bench-marking questionnaire. As David Woollcombe indicated, this will only be shared amongst those who were interviewed along with founding members, and potential sponsors, of the GCYE initiative. The results (attached) – are an interesting, but thoroughly unscientific, snapshot of what is happening in eleven Caribbean islands. Almost every respondent felt that the metrics on youth job creation and employment preparation were weak – and thus support GCYE’s JOB ONE: To agree a set of metrics that can compare and evaluate the effectiveness – and cost-effectiveness – of a variety of different interventions in different countries and contexts. Once agreed, a new questionnaire will be developed and used to secure a significantly larger sample of responses from each of the five stakeholder groups of the GCYE, namely: 1) Government; 2) Private Sector; 3) Academics and Practitioners; 4) Donors / Investors and 5) Youth themselves.
Jamaica came out top on almost every question amongst the countries surveyed – but again, we stress: this is based on personal opinions not statistical analysis. However, we are encouraged to see that the government of an important Caribbean state is moving intentionally to introduce what we, as analysts of youth job creation, know to be amongst the most effective kinds of interventions. We hope that other islands follow their lead and that the programmes and policies are introduced across the Region, and are also rigorously checked for their effectiveness and impact.

Next Steps – in Trinidad and Tobago:

ONE: Set up the National Board:
As soon as the Cabinet approves the initiative, the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs must convene a meeting of the National Board. The Board needs to include representatives of each of the five stake-holders and, obviously, it is for the minister to select who each representative will be. But, during my visit, I found enthusiasm from the following individuals and organisations which I hope the Minister might consider:
1. Private Sector Leadership: TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce, CEO Gabriel Faria:; Assistant. Rhea Nelson:
2. Academic & NGO Leadership: Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, CEO, David Dulal-Whiteway & Nirmala Maharaj:
3. Donors and Investors: Suggest all British High Commission, Foreign Embassies and other donors;
4. Youth Leaders: suggest: Dexter Wilson: and Latoyaa Roberts:
5. Other Government Ministry Representatives: Suggest a representative of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labour and SMEs, the Prime Minister’s office;

TWO: Prepare and deliver the Bench-marking survey:
The first task of the National Board is to decide how to get buy-in from the people, especially the young people and their teachers, across both islands. In our outline planning document, we suggest a schedule of Press Conferences, and – at our Meeting – we discussed a launch during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Ahead of that, the National Board needs to –
1. Agree the Content of the Bench-marking survey that will be used for all stake-holders. (Build on the one I used for my exploratory survey last week – attached)
2. Try to get as many schools as possible signed up for the 2018 Schools Enterprise Challenge;
3. Create T & T content – for the Global Campaign for Youth Employment Website. This can be a stand-alone website, or addition to the MSYA website, or a component of the website – linked to the MSYA website.

THREE: Prepare to launch the Initiative in Global Entrepreneurship Week – 12-18/11/18:
As soon as the decision is made to move ahead with this strategy, a simple Zero-Cost initiative is to get every school in the nation to register for the 2018 Schools Enterprise Challenge. The information about this is at: – and you can watch a video about the initiative at: Doing this will engage the teachers and youth of the islands in thinking about their entrepreneurial future – and supply many different promotional / media opportunities for the Minister and other members of the National Board to get visibility for the goals of the initiative. GCYE staff will be available to attend, from the UK, to give technical assistance and advice to both Board Members and individual schools on how to make a success of their Schools Enterprise.

FOUR: At the end of the GEW, have a National Board meeting
Following the launch events, the National Board must re-convene to assess the outcomes, the lessons learned and to make plans for the completion of the Bench-marking Survey and the drafting of the National Action Plan. At this meeting, a Schedule of Work must be agreed, and costed. Resources must be mobilised for the preparation of the National Action Plan and it’s immediate implementation.

David R. Woollcombe, Co-founder, GCYE,
June 2018

Share This