35 FSP participants prepare to enter the workplace

SHARING INFORMATION – Carla Brown-Roker, Youth Coordinator in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is pictured addressing the 35 participants of the Fresh Start Program, who attended the recent Workplace Readiness Seminar, where they also heard from Chelsea Johnson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Autumn Crop., and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard. (PHOTOS: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Thirty-five Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) Fresh Start Program (FSP) participants heard from several speakers, during a seminar focused on preparing them for the workplace.

The one-day seminar was held at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) Freeport Campus, Tuesday (January 9).

Among the speakers was Bahamian author and motivational speaker, Chelsea Johnson, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Autumn Crop.

Johnson, who is also an entrepreneur, successful author, business coach, marketing and branding strategist encouraged the participants to learn the art of saving for a rain day and long-term goals that they have individually set for themselves.

She told the youngsters to access themselves regularly, to truly understand who they are as individuals and what it is that they are passionate about.

“Ask yourself who, what, why, where, how and where. If you are able to answer those questions, truthfully, at any stage of any decisions that you have to make or goals that you intend to accomplish, those questions will also give you direction on what you want to do.”

With the FSP job internship set to begin next week, Carla Brown-Roker, Youth Coordinator at the MYSC explained that as the participants of this year cohort embark on the latest journey, it was important for them to receive pertinent information to assist them in the final stage of the program, the workplace.

“We have two groups in this seminar today … this is a Workplace Readiness Seminar and we have office procedure and business participants in this session, because they are about to begin their workplace internship, as of next week Monday (January 15).

“They have been taking technical skill classes since October, when our program began, where they were exposed to a variety of soft skills as well. They are about to embark on the Third Phase of the Fresh Start Program, which is workplace internship.

“We wanted to bring all of them together to give them final tools on what employers are expecting of them, when they embark on their workplace experience,” Brown-Roker explained.

“We wanted to look at appropriate conduct, appropriate dress, appropriate mindsets and attitude so that employers identify the positive that they have to offer. This will also assist them in securing employment offers as well, while they go throughout the program,” said Brown-Roker.

“They are going for one month of workplace internship and while they are serving at the various offices they will be assigned to; we are hoping that they will benefit greatly from the experience; that they would have the opportunity to be exposed to a workplace environment in an office setting. They will also be able to showcase some of the skills that they have learned in their technical classes, while being trained here at The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) and also at The University of The Bahamas (UB).”
Brown-Roker revealed that there were two groups of totaling 35 and they were all trained to operate, successfully, in a business environment. “We want to ensure that we give them all of the tools necessary to be successful, securing employment and most of all, retaining employment.

“We are aware of what employers say their concerns are about young people in the workplace. We want to dispel that myth … we want to ensure that what FSP program puts out is a quality product. What the FSP produces is young people that are skilled, young people with the right attitude, a teachable spirit that know how to dress appropriately for the workplace and to conduct themselves properly in the workplace. And finally, young people who go in with a mindset to be an asset to the company.

“We are very grateful for the amount of partners that are coming on board, to accept these young persons into their workplaces. We look forward to great success,” added the youth coordinator.

She announced that a similar seminar will be held next week for those enrolled in the carpentry, electrical and welding classes.

“They will be going into the industrial sectors and construction sites of Grand Bahama to, again, secure employment.

“We want to make sure that we not only tool them with skills and expose them to soft skills, but we are giving them every tool necessary for them to be ready, to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that are about to take place in Grand Bahama.

“We are not waiting for the opportunity and then look for classes and skills, we are taking a proactive approach,” said Brown-Roker.

She noted that 75 are expected to “come out” of this program in another month, February, all of whom are going to come out with skills that can be used in the workplace. “All of them are coming out with attitudes to go into the workplace, to be an asset.

“They are all coming out with the approach, ‘I am here, I begin at an entry level and I am going to work my way in this company and be a part of the positive of Grand Bahama’s workforce.’ That is what we want.”
Brown-Roker noted that the government of The Bahamas invested $170,000.00 into this cohort, alone, “between the tuition at UN and BTVI, material and stipend for these young people, and we need to give the government a return on its investment. And I plan to do just that.”

Brown-Roker disclosed that a large percentage of the 75 Fresh Start participants will be placed at private entities; however, a few will be placed in the public sector, if there are openings available for service.

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