Brandon Best receives his instrument of appointment as a Youth Influencer from Youth Development and National Service Minister Foster Cummings at the re-launch of the ministry’s 40 Under 40 programme on Monday at Castle Killarney in Port of Spain. PHOTO BY ANGELO MARCELLE –
THE Ministry of Youth Development and National Service has relaunched its 40 Under 40 Programme which aims to connect youth development influencers with students at 26 secondary schools across TT, as well as communities across both islands.
Speaking at the launch of the programme on Monday at Castle Killarney, the ministry’s permanent secretary Sean Ramrattan thanked the young men and women who would serve as youth development influencers in the programme.
“This initiative is designed to create unique response opportunities for our youth to engage with young movers and shakers who are established entrepreneurs entertainers, sportsmen, fashion designers, to name a few, towards improving their outlook on life and securing a brighter future.
“The implementation of the programme will have three major elements: school caravans, community caravans, and a digital component through social media engagement.
“It is our hope the journeys and meaningful contributions of our youth development influencers will shift the paradigm of many of our young people in a most dynamic way.”
He said 26 secondary schools will be visited, with the roving caravan beginning on February 1, at El Dorado East Secondary School.
The school engagement component involves the roving school caravan where the ministry visits a different secondary school each week and hosts a breakfast and conversation, as well as panel discussion sessions with students.
Influencers will share their success stories to empower youths to become more focused on their career path. Additionally, thematic areas pertaining to youth personal development will be discussed to promote introspection towards behaviour modification.
Communications Minister Symon de Nobriga said the launch, which was attended by the ministers of Youth Development and National Service, Education, and Child and Gender Affairs, show government is taking a whole-of-government approach on youths.
“In addition to the ministers, there are MPs who are committed to initiatives around the youth, local government representatives understanding they are the front line of the delivery to young people, all with the singular aim of providing for our youth, between the ages of ten and 35, with an opportunity to sit at the feet of those who have blazed the trails they now wish to take, providing an opportunity to train from their experience, and to learn the wisdom you all have acquired along your journey.
The programme is designed to bring together creatives, entrepreneurs, social influencers aimed at providing a platform to positively impact the lives of school-aged children.
Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said while young influencers might not think they have their lives together, those looking on, see them differently.
“We at the ministry are looking to you to help us with these 26 schools, because there are a lot of young people who look up to the people gathered today and who will need your guidance.
“They need to hear from you, hear your stories, hear that you too had challenges but was able to surmount them, and to hear how you did that, because they have similar challenges and they can surmount these challenges too,” Gadsby-Dolly said.
Youth Development and National Service Minister Foster Cummings said the initiative is aimed at further developing the nation’s human resource – its young people.
“Many of you here today had your experiences coming up in life, and at some point, you had questions about whether you were going to make it. And then somebody came along and recognised your talent and gave you an opportunity. I always tell my staff, you cannot make it alone. This life is about sharing experiences,” Cummings said.
He added that 1,040 students will be engaged in the 26 schools. Among the influencers are Tenille Clarke, Sule Joseph, Kareem Marcelle, Christian Boucaud, Kobe Sandy, Tya Jane Ramey, Athalia Samuel, Derron Sandy, and Hans De Vignes.