ABOUT THIS IS ME V, TRINIDAD 2016
This is ME, 2016 is the fifth edition of this program created by Caribbean InTransit’s founder Dr. Marielle Barrow. From March 2014 to March 2016, Dr. Barrow worked closely with staff at the Inter-American Development Bank to develop a scaled version of the program. This is ME, V is co-funded by the Inter-American Development Bank through the Multi-Lateral Investment Fund (MIF). This fifth edition of This is ME will build on Caribbean InTransit’s experience in hosting workshops to develop the life and entrepreneurial skills of high need youth. Caribbean InTransit’s This is ME program offers technical training and certification as well as life skills and business support for micro entrepreneurship activities in the local fashion sector.
As in many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the youth population in Trinidad and Tobago record highest levels of poverty and unemployment at rates roughly double the national average. According to the 2005 Survey of Living Conditions T&T suffers from the “youthfulness of poverty”. There is a distinct correlation between the vulnerability of the country’s youth population, particularly in low income high risk communities and rampant drug use, teenage pregnancy, and high attrition rates from the formal education system. This is particularly the situation in the highly populated, low income urban areas along the corridor east and west of the capital.
To date government and civil society actors have sought to address this challenge by providing access to technical and vocational training targeting young persons who have not completed secondary (high) school certification. MIF has supported several interventions primarily oriented to linking youth to employment or self-employment opportunities. Analysis of results achieved indicate that participants gained both technical and life skills that better positioned them for entry into the workplace but placement proved problematic due to logistical challenges and timeliness of placement opportunities. Lessons learned also supported the importance of industry advisory support to ensure relevance of training programs as well as the need to incorporate soft skills and remedial literacy for at risk low income participants. This is ME will address lessons learned to date and is differentiated from previous training initiatives supported by MIF in Trinidad and Tobago by its focus on the use of creative training and activities to build life skills and unlock potential of high risk youth for micro entrepreneurship.
The program will target 200 beneficiaries from urban communities in and around the capital city and engage them in 6 month programs involving life skills, business and technical skills and market linkages to start a micro business in fashion design and production. The This is ME Fashion Module is developed with support from the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)’s fashion program director to adapt to the local context and to facilitate some linkages, where feasible, to facilitate transition into UTT’s diploma or certificate program for participants interested in further studies. Caribbean in Transit will also work in partnership with Trinidad and Tobago’s National Training Agency to secure some level of vocational certification for graduates.