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Barbados, Saint Lucia Youth Benefit From Mentorship Programme

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The youth engagement programme, ‘TEAM’ designed by King’s Trust International, a charity founded by His Majesty King Charles III to tackle youth unemployment, is creating new opportunities for young men and women in the commonwealth nations of Barbados and St. Lucia.

The programme, which receives funding support from The Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Caribbean all-inclusive resort brand, Sandals Resorts – and Kestrel Liners, the specialist Caribbean logistics company, has touched the lives of some 250 vulnerable young people.

The programme helps them to develop key life skills, work experience and holistic mentorship to positively transform their lives.

Commencing in Barbados in 2016, TEAM is a 12-week full-time personal development programme delivered by the Barbados Police Service through their Community Policing Unit, for young people aged 16-25.

It supports young people who are out of work and trains them to gain the skills they need to progress in life, helping them to understand that they can contribute positively to their communities.

Richard Boyce, Barbados Commissioner of Police says, “Team teaches young people how to build resilience. These youths are also introduced to a range of tools to enable them to become responsible members of our society. The programme receives strong support from charitable organisations and the business community, as well as specialists from various disciplines. It has an enviable record in job placements for persons who enter the programme.”

In the cohorts funded by The Sandals Foundation last year, 100% of youth completed the programme with 76% gaining employment, furthering their education or engaging in a training or vocational programme.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) of participants saw an improvement in managing their feelings, 74% in improving their communication skills, and 69% in building confidence. The island’s police service also reported a significant drop in serious crimes, partly due to the success of the social intervention programme.

In 2023, the TEAM programme was expanded to St. Lucia– with the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force bringing the life changing formula to young people in that country for the first time.

Will Straw, Chief Executive of King’s Trust International described the expansion as an opportunity to replicate success. “The Team programme has helped scores of young people to build key life skills to support their journey to work. In Saint Lucia, we saw an opportunity to replicate the success of our ongoing partnership with the Police Force in Barbados. A member of the Barbados Police Service travelled to St. Lucia to share their experience, best practices, and insight into how to build healthy relationships with young people. I am delighted with the results.”

In St. Lucia, nine participants completed community projects, work placements and classroom-based learning sessions designed to improve their life skills, and to encourage them to think positively and pro-actively about their futures.

Activities included completing a first-aid course; environmental conservation projects; IT training and sessions on budgeting, CV writing and interview techniques. Participants also took part in a residential programme with The Saint Lucia Fire Service and work placements with local employers. This led all nine young people being offered a permanent job following the programme.

Karen Zacca, Director of Operations at the Sandals Foundation, says young engagement programmes is a key area of support due to the long-term impact that can be delivered. “Young people are the lifeblood of our communities and the future of our nations. They have so much potential and so many dreams, they only need the space to grow and to safely nurture their desires. We are honoured to partner with KTI on this programme, providing positive mentorship and workforce skills that will empower young people to take action and inspire hope.”

Lesley Saunderson, Resident British Commissioner to Saint Lucia, says: “The British High Commission is delighted to be part of the journey with KTI and partners in Saint Lucia, and witness their hugely positive impact on the youth and their families.  We know the communities that the young people hailed from, and cannot fail to be humbled by the way they invested themselves in the Team programme and are starting a fresh chapter in their lives.”

Stephen Victorin, Superintendent, Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF), says: “The best result when measuring police success, is the ability to prevent crime and disorder. This collaboration among the King’s Trust International, the Sandals Foundation and the Royal St Lucia Police Force presents an ideal opportunity to achieve such success…diverting at-risk youth from the undesired attractions.”

SOURCE: Sandals

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