$28m infrastructure work to start at Chatham Youth Camp

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

In this April file photo, Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings looks at the plans for the refurbishment of the St Michael’s Home for Boys. Next to him is contractor Stephen Small. Photo by Jensen La Vende

Refurbishment and construction at the Chatham Youth Development Apprenticeship Centre will start this month at a cost of $28 million.

The contract for the works was awarded to the Maintenance Training and Security Company Ltd (MTS) and is expected to be completed in ten months.

Minister of Youth Development and National Service (MYDNS) Foster Cummings said ata ceremony on Tuesday that the space was intended to promote economic participation, civic-mindedness, and productivity among the youth population.

The ministry, he said, since 2020 has embarked on revitalising youth camps, giving priority to developing safe spaces and creating peaceful communities as outlined in the national youth policy.

“Since my assumption at the MYDNS, I have been working with a team to implement incremental change that brings us to the standards of sustainable development and best practice in youth development work.

“The philosophy that guides sustainable development demands that we integrate the economic, social and ecological systems with the activities that enhance the well-being of all people, by providing a world, and in this case, an environment, fit for fostering the actualisation of the goals of and for youth population.”

Cummings said the ministry has been using an evidenced-based approach strategy to programme design and has reviewed the previous youth development policies and intervention, among other data, to develop a new youth camp model.

“Our model was unique, in that we catered to a wider range of young people from the age of 15, as opposed to 18 years, all the way up to 25 years.

“Our model also distinguished itself, by providing remedial literacy and cultural appreciation modules, alongside the civic, entrepreneurial and technical curricula, with a view to transforming the participants into holistically developed citizens.”

He added that the Advisory Committee for Youth Development Apprenticeship Centres and the Non-Residential Youth Development Centres, headed by former education minister Anthony Garcia, has identified new opportunities such as a modernised curriculum, fit-for-purpose facilities, a results-based management model and a marketing and rebranding strategy.