By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
Cultivating negative work attitudes and ethics have kept many of Belize’s youths from maintain employment, says Dianne Finnegan, coordinator of the Belize National Youth Apprenticeship Program (BNYAP)
“A major factor is the lack of respect, loyalty and value for the workplace”, Finnegan explained. “People, especially young people, feel like they can go into the work place and do whatever they want because you need them.”
Finnegan explained that through the BNYAP, among the core values taught, youths are guided to see employment as an opportunity, pointing out that many of those who take negative stances about low-income employment seldom consider that the salary is proportional to academic qualification.
The BNYAP, which began in 2010, through the Ministry of Education, provides skills training for Belizean youths to increase their employability. Many of them are either single mothers or have not completed high school.
The program also assists with job placement for its graduates, to afford them the opportunity to use the knowledge and skills earned through the program while providing for their families.
The BNYAP is expected to take on its eighth cohort in September.
The Statistical Institute of Belize’s labour force survey underscored Belize’s youth as one of the groups most affected by unemployment. The SIB defined “unemployed” persons as those who are of age and are able to work, and are actively seeking employment. That number stands at 18,479.
The youth population – between 14 and 24 years old had the highest unemployment rate at 25.5 percent, followed by ages 25to 34 years who had only 9.6 percent.
Out of the 237,791, which represents the total number of people in Belize who are of working age, some 84,790 were not in the labour force. The SIB also highlighted women of all ages as being another group severely affected by unemployment. The data showed that of the 119,433 women of working age, only 48.2 percent of them participate in the labour force.