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Skills for a Resilient Youth in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond


On July 15th each year, the UNESCO-UNEVOC celebrates and recognizes World Youth Skills Day (WYSD). World Youth Skills Day is used to recognize the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship, and to highlight the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing current and future global challenges.

The rapid global technological advancement has forced the demand for continuous training and education for workers within all sectors of the economy.  Employers have indicated the dire need for 21st Century workers to possess the competencies, that is, the knowledge, skills (technical & soft) and ability to effectively function and gain upward mobility. However, not only are these skills needed by those in the workplace but also for those entering the workforce, allowing access to decent jobs and staying out of poverty.[1] Cognizant of this need, the Human Resource Development 2030 Strategy highlighted the salient need for improving the training and educational mechanism for building the skills of youth within the Caribbean Community.

The present unprecedented crisis occurring as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic has stymied the movements of many educational institutions resulting from the premature closure to contain the spread of the virus. However, to ascertain the likely threat to the continuity of skills development UNESCO, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conducted a survey. The findings revealed that “distance training has become the most common way of imparting skills, with considerable difficulties regarding, “curricula adaptation, trainee and trainer preparedness, connectivity, or assessment and certification processes”, among others.

Unquestionably, there is a greater need for expanding the skills of the youth and given the necessity to build the resiliency of youth within this period, this year’s theme is “Skills for a Resilient Youth” focusing on building the capacity of youth in the technical and vocational areas.

As CARICOM Youth Ambassadors, we will attempt to strengthen the awareness and understanding of the significance of bridging the skills gap within the Caribbean Community and encourage rapid response to doing so. We will also seek to enlighten youth of their responsibilities in developing and honing their skills as a competitive advantage and greater access to decent jobs.

[1] Adapted from–en/index.htm

Purpose of the Youth Forum

To mark this day, the CARICOM Youth Ambassadors through the Youth Development Programme of the Human and Social Development Directorate is hosting a Youth Forum under the theme “Forging the Way Forward to Fill the Skills Gap in the Caribbean Community”, on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, at 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. 

To adequately address the purpose of the forum the presentations made during the forum will seek to achieve the following:

  1. Explore the skills gap among youth in the CARICOM Member States;
  2. Highlight the salient skills (soft & technical) required for youth resilience in the 21st Century – Per Agenda 2030, addressing SDGs 4,5,8, & 10; 
  3. Encourage/Empower young people to adapt to the changes and advancement of the current global demands;
  4. Harness the support required for the empowerment of youth through the building of a resilient mindset;
  5. Highlight the influence of cultural gender norms and their impact on career choices.
  6. A shared appreciation of the youth’s perspective of the skills gap;
  7. Enhanced awareness of the influence of cultural norms on Regional youth career choices
  8. Increased youth awareness of the salient skills (soft & technical) required for resilience in the 21st Century.
  9. Increased awareness in the actions necessary for building a resilient youth.
  10. Strengthened desires for a shift in cultural norms for nurturing and socializing children across the Caribbean.

Forging the way forward to fill the skills gap in the Caribbean Community

Opening Remarks

Insightful Presentations by Young Entrepreneurs/Leaders

Live streamed Discussion Presentations – YOUTH FORUM Celebrating World Youth Skills Day 2020

Meet the Panelists/Presenters

Regis G. Burton
Antigua and Barbuda

Regis Burton

Regis G. Burton is a former student of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Information Systems. While Regis was in college he served as President of the Student Government Association and was incorporated into the  National Residence Hall Honorary, the Charles Walgreen Leadership Academy and the Harvard Business School Summer Venture Management Program.

Upon completion of Regis degree, he returned home to Antigua and started his a temporary internship position, which later into a permanent position as the Human Resources Systems, Technology and Employee Engagement Officer at the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).

Regis is a Co-Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of the Nolan Hue Foundation. Nolan Hue Foundation is a social enterprise which focuses on the professional development of youth. Regis believes strongly that youth empowerment and support are imperatives for youth to achieve their full potential, and also raise the standards of professionalism in Antigua & Barbuda and the wide Caribbean He also believes that raising the standards of professionalism will ultimately improve the productivity level in the country will also increase. He hopes to play a part in introducing and improving the professional cultural norms throughout the Caribbean region and beyond.

In 2015, Regis was selected as an international ambassador for the One Young World Foundation and recognized for his outstanding community work and positive role model which lead to his receipt of The Queen’s Young Leaders Award 2016.

Regis is a student at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus, Barbados where he is pursuing a Master of Science in International Management and Spanish and expects to complete by August 2020. Since the outbreak of COVID 19, Regis is a University Research Intern at the Antigua Barbuda Medical Cannabis Authority until August 2020.

Nicholas Kee
Nicholas Kee

Nicholas Kee

Nicholas Kee is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Next Gen Creators, a non-profit organization aimed at promoting the learning of digital literacy skills for youth in the Caribbean. Nicholas is a 2017 Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Entrepreneurship and 2016 Queen’s Young Leaders Runner-up Award recipient. Nicholas is a PhD Candidate at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, in the Sustainable Development Programme where his Thesis Concentration is Decentralized & Distributed Technology Adoption for Underdeveloped Information Systems

Since the beginning of his career, he has launched companies in the sectors of education, marketing, big data, and 3D & 4D printing. He has had the honour of working with NASA, CERN, Red Cross International and the United Nations on renewable energy-related projects and policy reform for developing countries and refugee camps. Nicholas is presently a Jamaica Youth Ambassador to the Commonwealth and aims to give voice to concerns highlighted throughout the diaspora while empowering generations of youths to play an active role in their countries’ development. His primary focuses within his role are Economic Development & Opportunity, Technology, and Education. In this role, he highlights the importance of technology and digital literacy in societies of developing countries in the Commonwealth. He spends the majority of his time consulting with various government agencies and private organizations throughout the diaspora to help implement technological solutions into their societies.

Rochelle A. R. James
Rochelle A. R. James

Rochelle James

Rochelle A. R. James is a creative Human Resource Strategist who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Sector Management, a Masters in Economic and Social Development and a Graduate Certificate in Peace and Conflict Studies.

Rochelle is a results-oriented HR Consultant, Talent Acquisitionist and Recruiter is also an internationally certified Senior Professional in Human Resource. As a driven and accomplished professional she is focused on providing value-added solutions; a skill she demonstrated while serving as a member of the Industrial Relations Subcommittee of the Labour Market Reform Commission.

This is one of many examples of how Rochelle has established herself as a Sustainable Development aficionado and a global citizen. In 2017 Rochelle was named Jamaica’s Youth Ambassador to the United Nations and was later awarded the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence. The book “Climate Change Adaptation”, authored by Rochelle James, gives a clear picture of her passion for research and her analytical skills. In 2019 she authored her second book entitled “The BESTFIT – Performance-Based, Behavioural and Cognitive Interview Tools”.

Rochelle has held positions in National Export Strategy at JAMPRO, and Rights Awareness Programme at the British Council later expanded into an HR profession where she worked in companies Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Cayman and St. Kitts & Nevis.

She also runs her own Career Coaching & Team Building firm –, serves as Executive Director for the charity Youth for Sustainable Development Movement (Y4SD) and is the CEO & Founder of the Caribbean Society of Human Resource Professionals (CSHRP) serving 15 Caribbean nations. As a noted conference presenter and keynote speaker Rochelle has a strong reputation for conducting interactive session that takes participants on a learning journey.

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