The Youth Empowerment Service (YES)
One flag-ship programme for young persons in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has been the Youth Empowerment Service (YES) www.youthaffairsdepartmentsvg.com. This service was instituted in 2001 with an objective to provide training opportunities for young people between the ages of 16 and 30 years who are out of school. It is one of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' major active labour market policies and is promoted by the government as an on-going commitment to young people. The Youth Affairs Department welcomes all and asks only that the persons recruited must be trainable, willing and able to work. Those interested in taking advantage of the programme must register in person at the Department.
Every year more than four hundred young persons are recruited for apprenticeship training and citizenship molding. Currently, each volunteer is paid a monthly stipend of $450.00. For ten years it was entered in the Estimates as a capital programme at an aggregate cost of some $30 million. In the 2011 budget, the programme was allocated a sum of $2.8 million of the government's recurrent expenditure and is jointly funded by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of China on Taiwan.
The programme was strengthened in 2010 when training was offered in the areas of financial literacy and occupational safety. In 2011 the in-service YES training will be broadened to include opportunities focusing on enhancing the entrepreneurial spirit and better altitudes to work and production among its volunteers. In strengthening involvement of private sector entities in the programme, tax benefits will be offered as incentives for active participation in the YES programme.