Cummings: Government planning for the future

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Youth Development and National Service Foster Cummings –

YOUTH Development and National Service Minister Foster Cummings says his ministry’s Drilling Rig Operations Training Programme (DROP) is an intervention in the lives of young people.

On Tuesday at the Government Campus Plaza, Port of Spain, Cummings urged the 80 cohorts to take advantage of the programme and not waste taxpayer money.

He said his ministry is “constantly introducing interventions that will allow the young people to advance themselves.”

He said MYDNS is planning for the future.

DROP is a two-month programme aimed at young people aged 18–35. It offers four courses: Drilling Rig Roustabout, Roughneck, Fluids and Circulation Systems and Safety Management Operations.

It is offered by the National Energy Skills Centre Technical Institute, St Madeline Campus, San Fernando.

Cummings, who was in a jovial mood, told the participants who braved the inclement weather that the government was investing in them so they could become the best version of themselves and contribute to the country’s sustainable development.

“Many young people apply; you are the successful ones. I trust you will make good use of it.”

Cummings said his ministry will have another intake because of the number of applicants but he did not say when.

He said the programme will not only equip trainees with the skills to gain employment and opportunities in the energy sector but also contribute to the water resources sector locally and regionally, as per the drilling aspect of the programme.

“We are not only introducing traditional programmes such as carpentry, masonry, plumbing and construction. We are looking at the country’s landscape, its trajectory and our development.”

Cummings’ said in 2024, MYDNS launched several programmes and will continue to do so because of the overwhelming responses each time.

“We are getting traction and support from young people. So this notion that Trinidad has a lot of young people who are not on the right path, that is the minority. There are more young people in this country who are interested in developing themselves.”

He said the government is working to ensure there are many opportunities available to young people. Cummings’ said all citizens have a role to play in helping develop TT and stressed the media’s importance.

Cummings’ said his ministry is “just doing the work because somebody has to do it” and asked participants to help them do so by doing the best they can in the programme.

“We do not profess to have all the answers. It is not only the responsibility of the government but all citizens.”

Cummings acknowledged the government’s role in facilitating and providing resources but stressed citizens need to get involved and “do something, give something back.”

He told participants the programme is an example of citizens giving back and urged them to take advantage of it and pay it forward.

“Your being here today is giving back to the development of TT. This is how we are going to ensure TT continues to blossom and prosper for our future generations.”

He said MYDNS is responsible for 550,000 citizens and the majority of those are school children. He said many young people are not employed or in educational programmes.

“Many of them are on the block and idle. You know what they say about idle hands. We are going to continue to introduce programmes until these young people see something they are interested in.”

Cummings said MYDNS programmes have impacted over 15,000 and “intervene in the lives of young people.”

He said the figure does not include participants in programmes from other ministries.

Newsday spoke with participant Ronel Caton after the ceremony. She said she learnt about the programme from a WhatsApp group.

The 19-year-old from Point Fortin said she is interested in the programme’s safety module and hopes to get a job in the energy sector.

Jalon Alleyne from El Dorado said he enrolled in the programme’s roughneck module. The 20-year-old said before the programme, he was at home playing sports and his mother encouraged him to join.

Jeremiah Flores, 20, hopes to work in the processing field of the energy sector after he completes the programme and believes it will benefit him.