World Youth Skills Day Address by the Hon. Minister Wycliffe Smith

World Youth Skills Day Address by the Hon. Minister Wycliffe Smith

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In recognition of World Youth Skills Day, July 15 - for this year, the United Nations has chosen the theme “Learning to Learn for Life and Work”. Every honest vocation is worthy of pursuit. By learning a skill, the individual develops the ability to create a masterpiece or mend a broken one. Whatever the venture, one’s life and work will be significantly improved by experiencing the joy of learning a new skill.

Locally, through the different schools and institutions, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport encourages the learning of new skills and the development of those we have already. In school, this is done through varying programs and projects at the elementary level. At the secondary level, we encourage students to be trained in vocational areas as well as academics. Adult education in skills development is also made possible through the National Institute for Professional Advancement – NIPA. Everyone must be encouraged to use their hands and mind, maximising their vocational and academic opportunities. As long as there is life, one is never too old to learn.

As the Governing Program 2018-2022 outlines, this Ministry will be aiming to improve the current school curricula, pursuing increased employment opportunities for the youth, being innovative with presenting our culture within the communities as part of our tourism product, and promoting more “Made in Sint Maarten” products. The governing program is available via the Government’s website at

Sint Maarteners, learning skills is a part of our culture. From wire-bending to fishing, from sewing to decorating, from baking to catering, there is no limit to what we can learn and do. Our youth have both the heritage of skilled workmanship and the innovation of technological developments at their fingertips. Let us guide them into learning the skills of our fore-parents and being inventors of things that others can use. We must encourage everyone, young and old, to use their skills, talents and abilities for the sustainable development of our beloved Sint Maarten.

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