Youth Minister Mario Bowleg relaunches Fresh Start program in UK



RELAUNCHING A NEW BEGINNING – Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Mario Bowleg was the keynote speaker at the relaunch of the Fresh Start program in Grand Bahama on Friday, February 11, 2022 at Foster Petaina Hall.



FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – “We can always build the future of our youth, but our youth must prepare for the future,” said Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Mario Bowleg, during the relaunch of the Fresh Start program in Grand Bahama on Friday, February 11, 2022 at Foster Petaina Hall, Christ the King Church.

Minister Bowleg, who was the guest speaker at the relaunch, told the 50 young participants in the program that success is not something that comes easily or lightly, stressing that it comes with hard work and dedication. the determination. He encouraged them to say that sometimes starting from the bottom of the ladder doesn’t mean they can never reach the top.

“It’s those who try to start in the middle of the ladder who never get to the top,” said Minister Bowleg. “Because when you don’t understand how hard it is to start from the bottom step to get to the top step, you wouldn’t appreciate it if you started from the middle and tried to get to the top and they repel.
“Youth of Grand Bahama, wake up and recognize that your future is in your hands.”

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Minister Bowleg used his own personal experience to communicate to future students and future employees the importance of having direction in life, while trusting in God to guide them on the path that is right for them. He revealed that when he graduated from high school, he had a partial scholarship to a college in Alabama, but because his parents couldn’t afford their share of the scholarship, he didn’t. never been there.

Instead, Minister Bowleg said he took a job as a bank security guard to pay for his own tuition to attend university in the Bahamas. While working as a security guard in the bank, he said he was able to get his first degree. He said that although he started at the bottom of the ladder, he had his eyes set on improving himself as he moved up the job. Minister Bowleg said he was promoted from security guard to courier, then to crime supervisor and finally to a bank manager.

“I now stand before you as Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture,” said Minister Bowleg.

“What I tell you is when you’re offered jobs and you say you can’t work five dollars an hour or eight dollars an hour because you deserve more; yes, you deserve more, but always remember that a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his way. So whatever path you think you want to take, if that’s not the path he has for you, he’ll block it and you’ll never get that.

To prove his point, Minister Bowleg said that before landing the security guard job, he tried to join the Royal Bahamas Police Force fresh out of high school and then he tried to join the prison in as an officer, but there was always something going on that kept him from getting either job. He is convinced that none of these paths were what the Lord intended for him.

He said that was when he got a job as a bank security guard and ended up spending several years in the banking industry, all the while becoming passionate about mentoring young people when he became a high school basketball coach.

“Always remember, as you walk into Fresh Start and look at yourself in that mirror in front of you, work hard and let the Lord lead and guide you and your success will come,” Minister Bowleg said. “My desire is to have a strong and positive impact on the young people of the Bahamas, to encourage each of you and to empower you so that you can all become what you are called to be. I would like to see the young people of the Bahamas feel the positive impact of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.

“But at this point, let me encourage you to take advantage of this training program and take this opportunity to equip yourself for the workplace. The Fresh Start program was designed to address the problem of long-term unemployment, lack of job search skills and lack of work experience among our young people.

“My government is committed to ensuring that access and opportunity are made available to young people throughout the length and breadth of the Bahamas. I want to take this moment to thank all stakeholders, especially BTVI, who continue to play a vital role in facilitating the Fresh Start program.

“To you, our young participants in this program, take this opportunity to start again. Start your life of success.

The Fresh Start program is one of the Ministry of Youth’s flagship programs and has been in existence since 1993 and has evolved into its current format. The target population of the program is young people between the ages of 17 and 25, who have not been able to find a job since leaving secondary school. This includes those laid off as a result of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program has always been oversubscribed, with more than 100 people applying each session. Fifty young people from Grand Bahama were selected to participate in 16 weeks of skills training, employment preparation and personal development courses, and four weeks of work experience.

The Fresh Start program has partnered with BTVI to conduct this session a hybrid model, in combination with in-person skills courses and Bahama Host, Osha and NCCER virtual certifications.

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