Growth & Jobs | 'Teach entrepreneurship in schools'
Deandra Chung-Jones, president of the Young Entrepreneurs' Association (YEA), believes that entrepreneurship should not be seen as an option when alternatives have failed, but should be seen as a priority at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
Speaking with The Gleaner after participating in a Technical Workshop in Trinidad late last month, Chung-Jones said a major objective of the workshop was to develop a National Youth Entrepreneurship Framework in recognition of the many challenges that often stifle growth and development within the region.
"Being cognisant of the challenges that the region faces with regards to youth unemployment and economic growth, we acknowledge governments and Commonwealth Secretariat's concerted efforts to consolidate and restructure policies and programmes to alleviate these issues," she said as she voiced her suggestions at the workshop.
"We, therefore, recommit and pledge our support to this process and contribute these strategic policy recommendations to advance youth employment and promote economic growth."
She indicated that young people in the Commonwealth are craving the support of governments, business communities, civil society organisations, among other partners, to support initiatives and anything that will assist business to grow and flourish.
"We call on national governments to facilitate the integration of entrepreneurship training and education, along with academic and vocational training, into the formal education system from primary to tertiary level, including practicum, internships and apprenticeship programmes, to foster practical and experiential opportunities for learning through practice," she said.
"We, therefore, call for the prioritisation of a national entrepreneurial culture through the development of training programmes that encourage an entrepreneurial mind-set."
Jones also said issues such as access to financing, and technological advancements, in addition to networking, are critical factors to growth and innovation.