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Youth staff retooled to face new challenges

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Armed with additional and updated skills, members of staff in the Department of Youth Affairs (DYA) are now better positioned to support stakeholders during these challenging times. The DYA recently completed a Professional Development Workshop facilitated by the Department of Behavioural Sciences in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI). The workshop saw Youth Auxiliaries, Youth Officers and other staff benefit from enhancing their core competencies. Sessions conducted by the facilitators covered a wide range of technical, administrative, cognitive and behavioural topics.

Sharing the motivation behind staging the workshop Youth Development Director, Ann Marie deGazon highlighted, “Youth is a changing dynamic particularly in these times and officers have a responsibility to continuously upgrade their technical skills so that we will remain relevant to meeting the needs and addressing the situations of our young persons.” She noted that the DYA is in a process of adapting to the current environment, and re-energizing staff to maximize output and maintain an effective relationship with stakeholders.

Project Officer Patrise Joefield notes that her service delivery has indeed been enhanced by her participation in the series thus far. She explained, “This workshop has given me tools and strategies to break down certain barriers that we face as youth workers in the field. Barriers such as age difference, language, status, sexual orientation, gender and with the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen a major increase in the use of technology. The sessions have taught us to break these barriers and work around them to be able to better connect to our youth population in Tobago.”

As the Division of Sport and Youth Affairs continues to rise to the challenge of changing circumstances surrounding the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, key staff members engaged in public outreach will continue to benefit from professional development opportunities to ensure all stakeholders are provided with the caliber of support necessary at this time.