Youth DirectorMelissa CarmichaelRecognising that young people are often lost to drugs and crime after finishing school, or even during the latter part of their school years, the Department of Youth has said it plans to launch a ‘job readiness training’ initiative for youths to better ease them into the work force.This announcement was made on Wednesday by Youth Director Melissa Carmichael during a press conference.We recognise that there is a gap between when young people leave their secondary education (and when they get) into the work force, or to becoming a part of the work force. There is a great gap there. Young people — very often in that area or during that stage — we lose them to different things; so, in order for us to ensure that they head towards careers, we have to start our work within the school system,” she said.Carmichael pointed out that this project would require officials meeting with young people, not only within fifth and sixth forms, but those who have already left school. According to her, youths require career guidance to prepare them for the world of work.The Youth Director noted that the relevant agencies which would be responsible for working along with those youths have already been engaged, so that young people both in and out of school can benefit.“I can tell you that we’ve already engaged the Manpower Unit that will be working with us to provide job readiness training moving forward…both for in-school and out-of-school young people. We believe that this will provide an opportunity for them to start thinking about, one: the place that they want to be in terms of career; and two: give them enough information and training so that, once they leave the secondary school system, they understand what is the next step,” she explained.The Department is pushing to have youths ready for jobs, but youths are complaining that there is a lack of job opportunities. In fact, at the Department’s job fair hosted only on Friday, more than 600 youths were in attendance, but the Department said during that very press conference that only about 200 youths were being catered for.Social Cohesion Minister Dr George Norton, who has responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport, has expressed some concern over the fact that 40 per cent of youths are unemployed.