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Department of Youth

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The Department of Youth Affairs (DYA) has Core Responsibility for Youth Development in Tobago. We are charged with creating an enabling environment for the holistic development of youth on the island, while facilitating the mainstreaming of youth and youth development priorities across all development sectors; advocating in the interest of our young people ages 10-35 years. The estimated population of youth 10-35 years on the island is 24,800. or 41% of the total Tobago population (cso data.2011)

We consult and partner with young people and youth stakeholders to plan our youth development agenda and address the concerns of our youth in the areas of policy development, conceptualizing, implementing, and facilitating youth programmes, interventions and services, networking and advocacy.

The main functions of the Department of Youth Affairs are:

  • Planning, implementing, managing, assessing and monitoring of youth development systems, policies, procedures, practices and programmes
  • Fostering youth involvement, inclusion and participation in civic and democratic life
  • Coordinating and monitoring youth-led initiatives

The Department of Youth Affairs consists of three (3) units through which our services are discharged:

  1. District Servicing Unit
  2. Programme Implementation Unit
  3. Youth Development Institute


About the District Services Unit:

The District Services Unit is the arm of the Department that reaches into the community, creating a strong linkage between young people, youth organizations and the Department. It supports the work of youth Development in communities and is focused on the building of capacity, providing a range of technical services, networking with strategic partners and responding the needs, issues and challenges of youth as we help them transition into adulthood, while supporting their active participation, inclusion and involvement. The work of this unit is seen through some of the following:

  • Registration and of Youth Organizations
  • Certification of Youth Organization
  • Training/ Capacity Building Initiatives and programmes
  • Support for Governance and Leadership systems, structures and procedures
  • Supporting the Implementation of Youth and Community Programmes and Activities
  • Youth Council development
  • Youth Registry and Portal providing access to general services for youthNetworking, Advocacy and Resources and professional development for youth, youth leaders and workers 

Services of the District Services Unit:

The Unit through its youth officers provides:

  1. Registration and certification of Youth Groups and Organizations
  2. Technical support and monitoring of groups and organizations in the following areas:
    1. Governance
    2. Organizational Structure, management and administration
    3. Capacity to implement and operationalize programmes and projects
    4. Monitoring and evaluation systems
    5. Sustainability
  3. Training and Capacity Building in all technical areas of youth development
  4. Financial assistance to youth groups/organizations and youth projects
  5. Monitoring of youth programmes and projects
  6. Support, guidance and access to services for individual youth.
  7. Networking and advocacy in support of the youth development agenda

Structure of the District Services Unit

The Unit is currently supervised by the Youth Development Officer 11, Youth Development and Youth Officer’s 1 operate at the District level and Youth Auxiliary officers operate at the zonal level.

To effectively serve all young persons across Tobago, the unit has divided the island into 2 regions, 4 districts and 10 zones, with specific Youth Officers at various levels having responsibility to address the needs in the respective areas.


Programme Development and Implementation Unit (Youth Development Centre Programme)

About the Programme Implementation Unit:

This unit is charged with developing and executing large scale programmes and public education initiatives of the Department, that meet the needs of young persons across the Island using a positive youth development approach in keeping with policy directives.

Services of the Programme Development and Implementation Unit:

The PIU, headed by the Youth Programme Coordinator and staffed with project officers provides core programme development and implementation services based on assessed needs and situation of youth. Core programmes implemented by the Department include:

  1. Tobago Youth Assembly
  2. Tobago Youth Awards
  3. World of Work
  4. Commemoration of National and International Youth Days
  5. Youth Caravans


About the Youth Development Institute:

This Unit provides for the training and development of our youth who can access individual or group services at our Youth Development Centres located across the Island. The Unit is also linked with other key service providers and will supplement our services through an active referral process, access to resources, equipment and facilities to support the work of our young people in communities and the implementation of skill development programmes and initiatives.

Services of the Youth Development Institute:

    1. Assistance in completing forms and applications
    2. Document preparation, and printing
    3. Referrals for support services
    4. Access to government service
    1. Home-work and study assistance and support
    2. SBA completion support
    3. Reading Assessment and tutoring
    4. Functional Literacy Development
      1. Where to find services
      2. How to complete basic forms
Simple adult things to do and know such as:
  •  How to get a driver’s license
  •  How to apply for your ID card
    1. Job Search
    2. Apprenticeship Placements
    3. Assistance in Completing Resumes and business documents
    4. Interview Coaching

Structure and operations of the Youth Development Institute

The Institute is headed by the Programme Manager of the Youth Department. Each Youth Centre is staffed with a Centre Coordinator, Assistant Coordinator and support staff who are charged with developing the programmes and services to be delivered at the Centre location. Currently there are 5 Youth Development Centre Locations:

  1. Bethel YDC
  2. Signal Hill YDC
  3. Castara YDC
  4. Roxborough YDC (located at the sub-office)
  5. Pembroke YDC (closed for renovations)

The Youth Development Centres generally operate from 9:00am to 5:00pm with some flexibility in operating hours at each location based on programme needs. Groups wishing to use the centre location for meetings and activities can submit a request to the Centre Coordinator.


Other operations of the Youth Department

Youth Policy Development and  Implementation

The Department of Youth is guided by the National Youth Policy, and is currently engaged in the development of the Tobago Youth Empowerment Strategy (TOBAGO Y.E.S) Learn more about our vision for youth as outlined in the National Youth Policy. Policy can be found here: