The future of work

Being unemployed at a young age can have long-lasting, negative effects for the person as well as the economy. Young people with a history of unemployment will face fewer career advancement opportunities, lower wages, poorer prospects for better jobs and self enhancement, and ultimately lower pensions, thus exponentially lowering their quality of life. Youth unemployment can lead to serious socio-economic consequences thereby hampering economic growth and the base of human capital. Social factors like crime and exclusion are other aspects to consider when it comes to young people being unemployed. The COVID‑19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation where young people working in areas like tourism, transportation, and hospitality losing jobs or working on reduced hours or pay.

According to a 2020 report from the International Labor Organization, the global youth unemployment rate stands at 13.6%. But why is the youth unemployment rate so high? A few contributing factors to consider are: lack of job opportunities, barriers of entry into the labour market like lack work experience which is prominent in the Caribbean as most individuals dive into the labour market directly from school, and the increasing size of the population itself.

Our Republic Bank Youth Link Apprenticeship Programme commenced in 1986 with 50 participants aiming to:
1. Equip the participants with basic training and marketable skills in business-related disciplines in order to improve their career options.
2. Bridge the gap between the school and work environment.

This year we celebrated 35 years of the programme which was launched on February 10, 2021. Twenty-six (26) fifth and sixth form graduates from the Business Studies and Science streams, between the ages of 16 -19 years were inducted.

The Apprenticeship Programme is open to Secondary School graduates between the ages of 16 to 19 years. The Programme spans a period of seven (7) months, during which time the apprentices are attached to a Republic Bank branch or Specialist Unit, where they are exposed to various courses in office procedures, personal development, banking operations, customer service and computing.

They are also required to attend a seminar on developing skills to establish their own businesses. A motivational session also forms part of the Programme, which is aimed at boosting the self-esteem of the participants, as they make positive strides in their lives.

Our Youth Link Apprenticeship Programme is a demonstration of the Bank's commitment to the development of the young people in Trinidad and Tobago. While the ongoing pandemic has created a host of challenges for workforce development initiatives worldwide, we remain committed to continue investing in the youth of this great nation. We hope to inspire, motivate and instill proper work values and ethics in those who enter the programme.

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