Helping young people find work


WHILE teaching is a noble profession, it requires diversity – different skills and techniques are needed for different groups of people. That is where Roselyn James comes in.
James is an adult senior specialist trainer attached with Montrose International, a British consultancy company that is working in partnership with Anglicare (PNG).
She is responsible for teaching 31 young adults from the PNG Urban Youth Employment Project’s literacy and livelihoods training programme.
The objective is to provide information and basic skills that can improve young people’s socio-economic outlooks and chances of finding work.
“Teaching adult learners needs very special facilitating skills as it is a completely different concept from early childhood, primary or secondary teaching,” James said, adding that for this reason, adult trainers must be skillful in identifying the kind of teaching styles appropriate for the different participants in a class.
Unlike children, adult students already have life experiences, she said, and trainers can therefore use those different real life experiences to teach cross-cutting issues such as gender, gender-based violence, sexual harassment, Tuberculosis, HIV/Aids.
James allocates 15 minutes a day of her class time to teach cross-cutting issues and she encourages her students to pass on the knowledge to others in their peer group or community.
The UYEP project also has a zero tolerance approach to gender-based violence and includes TB awareness, in the form of pamphlets and lectures, in its training programmes.
Another approach James uses is putting up printed materials or charts with pictures, writings, drawings and sketches that catch the learners’ eyes.
James has 10 years of experience in the field of adult education and is comfortable teaching students of different educational levels and life experiences that range from high school down to those she terms as “zero level” education.
There are those, too, with no reading and writing skills. Patience, understanding and humility are important for the job.
In their 14-week programme, the participants learn basic literacy, numeracy and financial literacy skills and employability skills to improve their chances of finding a job.
“I am very firm about manners and appropriate behaviour,” James said. And after the first week of class she sees considerable behavioural change in her wards of 21 female and 10 male trainees.
There has been considerable improvement in the way they dress, their attitude towards others in class and general outlook towards learning, James said.
After four weeks on the course, those who arrived illiterate can read and write and communicate in English.
Literacy and livelihoods training is implemented by Montrose International, which specialises in health, education and rural development project services. Partnering with Anglicare (PNG) in this high-impact project, it expects to train 500 young people from UYEP.
The literacy and livelihoods training programme deals with three modules:
l Basic literacy and numeracy
l Functional literacy and numeracy for employability; and
l Life skills for entry-level employment covering a range of skills tailored to the employment sector in Port Moresby. These include hospitality, events management, construction and administration.
The 500 young people will be spread over three rounds of training of 14 weeks per round for the contract period.
The programme was launched in February this year and the first batch went into training on May 22.

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