Participants at Self-awareness Workshop with Lenworth Wilson
PHILIPSBURG–K1 Britannia Foundation recently launched its 10-month Work, Training and Social Development (WTSD) Program for 15 youth between the ages of 16-19, coming from a variety of vulnerable and troubled backgrounds. The participants come from various high schools and organisations in the justice chain.
The WTSD Program is one of the programs under the Second Chance Pillar at K1 Britannia Foundation. The goal of the Second Chance Program is to invoke long-term change in a young person’s life by providing the right opportunities for personal and career development, so that they will positively impact the world.
Following a successful pilot program in 2016-2017, the program has been adapted and expanded tremendously based on feedback, lessons learned, and research, Program Manager Josiah Lamothe explained. “Youth coming from vulnerable and trouble backgrounds tend to have challenges transitioning into adulthood with limited or inadequate support and resources and the WTSD Program’s aim is to give them the tools and support needed for development.”
The island needs more local professionals and it starts with our youths, Lamothe said. “Youths should keep learning and striving to become the best version of themselves. The concept of this program is to not only focus on education, but we put a big emphasis on the social development of the youth via the work-ready and life skills workshops. That’s where we believe the real impact is made in becoming young professionals.”
The WTSD Program will help youths who are having challenges with transitioning into adulthood, he said. “This program will help them to prepare for what’s next, even if they don’t know what that is, as with the support and opportunities within the program, we believe that it will help them to figure it out.”
As the name indicates, the program addresses three key elements: work, training and social development. “When balanced properly, these elements will build a solid foundation for a successful future for the participants, while helping to increase employability, entrepreneurship mindset and the willingness to give back,” Lamothe said.
As part of the program, all youths will receive a full scholarship from K1 Britannia Foundation. They have started the “Training” element of the program and are attending classes at the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA) for 2022-2023, studying in a range of fields from Maritime, Automotive, Electrical, to Business Administration or are currently doing their General Educational Development (GED) tutorials with K1 to obtain their GED Diploma.
As part of the “Social Development” element, participants will be attending weekly IT classes and approximately twenty workshops, with focus areas such as Personal Development, Communication, Financial Literacy, Health, Work Readiness, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and more. Youths will be given the opportunity to volunteer and give back and be matched with a volunteer mentor for extra guidance and support.
As part of the “Work” element, participants will have the opportunity to have a 5-month job placement, giving them the opportunity to gain paid work training experience in various sectors of business and public services in St. Maarten, exposing them to different fields of work.
“This will not only give them job experience and credentials, but also help them through the issues that prevent many of them from being able to secure long-term employment,” Lamothe explained. “The end goal is that they will know what type of career they would like to pursue and have the skills and resources needed to pursue it.”
The 10-month program will not only cover the Work, Training and Social Development elements as mentioned above but participants will receive assistance from tutors and extra support from the foundation.
“With this comprehensive program, from a full scholarship in the field of their choice, to paid work placements, workshops, mentors, volunteering opportunities and more, the opportunity for growth in a variety of fields is endless,” Manager Chiaira Bowers concluded. “As such, our hope is that they take the opportunity, the information and lessons shared and apply it to their lives. Information without application will not equal transformation, and that’s what we want for each youth in the program. We look forward to the growth we will see with all the youths in this program.”
The K1 Britannia Foundation is committed to assisting these youths in a variety of forms, but this relies entirely on the involvement and generosity of the community.