Today’s Opinion: Social skills

POSTED: 06/3/11 7:04 PM

While crime is high on the agenda (at least as a topic to talk about) some young people on the island have taken a different approach. Maybe some of them still liming on the block as you read this, but they have in the meantime also made a serious effort to better themselves by following a social skills workshop. On Wednesday they received their certificates. It was a happy gathering at the TDC Training Center in the UTS-building of youngsters who were cocky, proud and at times shy as well.
UTS made the program possible, and it also awarded one outstanding participant with a spot in a trainer-course that will start in September.
This seemingly minor initiative ought to get the recognition and support it deserves. In September there will probably be a new course for another group of youngsters who want to change their lives in a positive way. It is an important part of the puzzle decision makers are struggling with.
Constantly there is attention for rising crime figures, there is outrage about horrendous crimes against citizens and tourists alike and at the same time our decision makers seems to be impotent when it comes to offering solutions.
One social skills workshop is obviously not going to change the course of our history. But it is a start, and now it also deserves a follow up. The youngsters who completed this course deserve a chance when it comes to job training opportunities and after that, of course, they deserve a chance in the job market. We encourage the private sector to offer these youngsters that chance and to help them further on their way to become productive members of our community.
We’re not sure whether everything these young people learned during the workshop will stick. It is easy to get carried away by group dynamics, but when a course is over, everyone is on his or her own. Then it becomes a tad more difficult to put what you have learned into practice.
Trainer David McGregor taught a few valuable lessons in the workshop. One of those lessons is that employers don’t owe anything to anybody. That’s not a way to depict employers in a negative way, but an important message to youngsters who want to make something of their life. Being the best you can be is something employers always appreciate. Bringing a positive attitude to the party won’t hurt either.
Most of all, this workshop could put at least part of the participants on the path towards further learning. They have been made aware of choices between slaving for minimum wages in a tough job and making a better income in a more agreeable working environment. That is within reach for those who are prepared to make the effort to learn, and for those who are prepared to go the extra mile and by doing so to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.

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