Commonwealth joins forces with the National Youth Agency to upskill youth officers in St Kitts & Nevis

22 March 2022
Woman writing in notebook

“We have a duty to fulfil. To educate, appreciate and motivate” is one of the inspiring lines youth officers from the Department of Youth in Nevis recited from a handwritten poem during a training session run by the National Youth Agency (NYA) in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat.

The four virtual training sessions were arranged to give youth officers from St Kitts and Nevis the opportunity to discuss relevant themes and develop skills to incorporate into their teaching practices. The workshops explored topics of safety in a group, Covid-19, celebrations, endings, values, and beliefs in a group work context.

Youth Work: a global language and activity

Speaking about the sessions Katrina Harris, NYA Senior Practice Lead said: “We have had a fantastic time delivering learning to the youth workers of the Islands of St Kitts and Nevis. The youth work specialists found those who were attending, engaging and full of enthusiasm for learning with the subjects we delivered”.

“They shared their experiences along with providing information that they would take away from the delivery and utilise in their groups on their Islands. We wish them well for their future youth work and it demonstrates that youth work is definitely a global language and activity.”

To mark the ending of the sessions, participants were asked to express their feeling in a way which celebrates the importance of self-reflection in a youth work setting.  

Lead lyricist and youth officer, Leandre Dyer delivered a poem written by the participants attending from the Department of Youth in Nevis. Part of it read:

“What role do you play in your group?
Are you a shaper or a team worker?
Do you help your group blossom like a flower?
Well, like birds of a feather we stick together
In order to build a safer future.”

Amongst the participants was Kerdis Clark, Director of the Department of Youth Nevis. She said: “We are eternally grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UK National Youth Agency for the successful hosting of the first round of youth development training for St. Kitts and Nevis. The training sessions were timely, refreshing, enlightening, motivating, and stimulating for the entire staff of the Department of Youth - Nevis. Since we are re-energized, we look forward to a more productive and meaningful year of positive youth engagement!” 

Pierre Liburd from St Kitts added: “The Department of Youth is profoundly grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Youth Work Academy for their stellar work, providing interactive and enlightening training for our Officers. The sessions were well received and challenged officers to reflect on their work and responsibilities in new ways. The experience will no doubt have a lasting impact on the quality and effectiveness of their efforts going forward.” 

Participants at one of the virtual training sessions upskilling youth officers in St Kitts & Nevis

Collaborating with the National Youth Agency

Speaking about the collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat, Abbee McLatchie, Director of Youth Work at the NYA said: “The National Youth Agency are pleased to be a key partner of the Commonwealth Secretariat, supporting Youth Work and Youth Development. The reciprocal learning opportunities that this partnership creates are an exciting and creative way to build the international movement of professional youth work, for the benefit of young people and communities.”

The Commonwealth Youth Programme has been supporting young people from its member countries for nearly 50 years and it is committed to promoting the professionalisation of youth work by supporting youth work education and training and setting competency standards.

Dr Amina Osman, Advisor at the Commonwealth Secretariat added: “We will continue to work with policy makers, youth work practitioners, lecturers and researchers towards the recognition of youth work and the professionalisation of the sector through quality training, this in order to deliver on our commitments to young people”.


Media contact

  • Charlotte Barcham  Programme Assistant (Web and Social Media), Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat
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