72 percent of youth personally prefer a university-track career as opposed to a technical one; however, they would not rule out advocating a technical career for their peers.
What do youths along Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast hope to attain in their careers? How much do they understand about technical and vocational education and training (TVET)?
A Youth Perception Survey of 400 at-risk youth aged between 14 and 29 was carried out by the TVET of At-risk Youth programme to gain greater insights about their perceptions and ambitions. This included ethnic minority youth in four targeted municipalities along the Caribbean Coast—Desembocadura del Rio Grande, Pearl Lagoon, Bluefield’s and Nueva Guinea.
The assessment allowed for the better conceptualisation of an awareness campaign aimed at increasing the interest in and raising the perceived value of TVET programmes. One of the campaign objectives is also to eliminate gender stereotypes in relation to certain vocations that could possibly hinder the career progression of youths.
The survey results bring to light the perception that youths have towards TVETs. For instance, 72 percent of youth personally prefer a university-track career as opposed to a technical one; however, they would not rule out advocating a technical career for their peers. Additionally, in a parallel focus groups and interviews, 178 youth, parents, community leaders and communicators, suggested fundamental messages, communications tools and activities to be included in a campaign that can help enhance perceptions of TVET.
Zoliang Pollack Cash breaks gender stereotype by enrolling in a male-dominated vocation
19-year-old Zoliang Pollack Cash is one of the two female students enrolled in the Outboard Motor Repair Training Course. She is also one of the first scholarship recipients from the Caribbean Coast involved in the TVET for At-risk Youth program – an initiative implemented to address youth unemployment issues through TVET.
Zoliang’s story was not unique. In fact, Nicaragua has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Latin America; 28 percent of women give birth before the age of 18, according to the United Nations Population Fund. The International Labour Organization revealed that 250,000 Nicaraguan youth ages 15 to 24, about 19.5 percent, are neither studying nor working.
However, with the assistance received, Zoliang is now able to carve a career of her own. “Now I have the chance to study, get an education and be able to provide a better future to my daughter,” she quipped.
Zoliang will be fulfilling an internship with a local marine transport company, Transportes Wendelyn Vargas in Bluefields. The organisation is one of the private sector partners devoting to the curriculum alignment of TVET institutions so that their graduates can better meet the demands of the job market. Centro de Formacion y Desarrollo Integral is the TVET center heading the training, with assistance from the local marine transport enterprise.
Zoliang is aware that she is an exemplar for other women, and shared that “I was motivated to enroll in the Outboard Motor Repair Training Course because men say that as a woman I cannot do this job. But as women, we must demonstrate that we have the capacity to do anything we aim to achieve.”
Source: Youth Power