Minister of Education, the Honorable Jeffrey Lloyd

Qualified youth leaders are needed now more than ever, as the country wrestles with a surge of increased social ills among youth which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Minister of Education, the Honorable Jeffrey Lloyd.

Minister Lloyd made the comment while sitting as one of six panelists who recently consulted with Commonwealth of Learning (COL) representatives to discuss ways to tailor an online program to suit the needs of youth workers in The Bahamas. The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) will deliver the program. Lakehead University is also playing an integral role in the launch of the COL Professionalizing Youth Workers Programme.

A suite of micro-courses to build the capacity of youth workers to better understand youth will be offered. The program, expected to launch in fall 2021, will also develop and utilize strategies to support them in their development to becoming fully engaged and contributing members of society. The micro courses will roll out every six weeks. Topics include but are not limited to good governance in youth organizations, health and well-being, youth entrepreneurship, and youth civic and political participation.

During the consultative meeting, Minister Lloyd commended BTVI President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson, who leads the charge in facilitating the courses locally. He highlighted the “stratospheric growth” BTVI has seen under Dr. Robertson’s leadership. He, therefore, emphasized BTVI’s role in the youth workers’ program, as the government’s commitment to empowering youth as a top priority.

“As sound youth training is vital, so is the sound training of youth leaders who have a direct influence on the growth and development of our young people. In The Bahamas, our government places major emphasis on the expansion of youth organizations and youth development programs,” said Minister Lloyd.

“I cannot stress enough, the importance of equipping our youth leaders to inspire a strong generation – a generation of hope, a generation of financial, mental, and social wealth, a generation of competent citizens, problem solvers, compassionate beings, who work in unison for the betterment of all,” he continued.

COL’s Education Advisor and one of the leads on the project, Dr. Kirk Perris, is confident in the projected outcomes.

“We have every confidence that the project will yield impactful results to support youth workers in The Bahamas who operate on the front lines of youth development. We have a youth expert in Dr. Gary Pluim of Lakehead University in Canada to lead the co-design of this initiative, drawing on experience from a similar intervention in the Pacific. And of course, there is Dr. Robertson and BTVI – whom we are delighted to work with – in addition to other partners on this initiative,” said Dr. Perris. 

Following the consultation to launch the online workshop series for youth workers, Dr. Robertson noted that BTVI is more than committed to developing a program that is not only effective but will aid in creating forward-thinking young men and women. 

“Accelerated certification programs have been our focus for some time now, especially as it relates to unemployment and upskilling. We recognize that it is especially crucial that this program is curated in such a way that youth workers can not only empower young people but connect with them in a way that the youth develop the mindset of self-awareness, innovation, and integrity in order to elevate the country. With the guidance of COL, the Ministry of Education, and Lakehead University, we hope to do just that,” said Dr. Robertson. 

A survey will also be conducted to aid in developing the customized youth workers program and can be accessed via the link: