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Alliance highlights education and youth policies ahead of public rally

Photos by Johnny Bugeja

The GSLP/Liberals focused on education and youth on Monday morning, hours before the alliance held a packed public meeting to discuss their manifesto at the John Mackintosh Hall.

At the GSLP/Liberals headquarters in Main Street, GSLP leader Fabian Picardo and GSLP candidate Christian Santos highlighted some of the projects the alliance has proposed they would deliver if elected.

Mr Santos will be proposing his plans in the portfolios of culture, youth, heritage and equality.

“A youth strategy where young people, no matter who you are, your background, where you come from, have a project and a plan within all different ministries,” Mr Santos said.

“It doesn't matter if you're a person, a young person with a disability, a young person from an academic background.”

“In every different section there is a pointer and a project to do with young persons. That's where I think we've really developed from.”

“Maybe looking at it from a different perspective as opposed to youth is one section, culture is one section, housing, it's a more cohesive plan and holistic approach to taking care of our people from a very young age into adulthood.”

Mr Santos and Mr Picardo described the difficulty in ensuring young people in apprenticeships moved forward into skilled employment.

“One of the problems that we - and this is one of the discussions that we've had with the union quite over the past few years - we train welders, we train carpenters, etc,” Mr Picardo said.

“Those welders and those carpenters then trained with all their apprenticeship qualifications don't go on to become welders or carpenters. They go on to take jobs in the public sector as laborers and then move on to do something else which is not welding or carpentry.”

“Now, I believe in education as an end in itself. You can go off and do theology if you like and then come back and work in the public office.”

“I have no difficulty with the fact that what you're going to do in your working life is different to what you've done in your life in education.”

Mr Picardo added that apprentices are trained for employment and the difficulty is instead of taking over skilled private sector jobs, those employees are moving into the public sector.

“A welder in the private sector will earn a lot less than a labourer in the public sector,” Mr Picardo said.

“The apprentice welder will go to become a labourer in the public sector instead of becoming a welder in the private sector.”

Mr Picardo added he believes that the government has an obligation to be the best employer in Gibraltar and lead by example.

“But this is an issue that we do have to be alive to because the union repeatedly tells us we must have the apprenticeships,” Mr Picardo said.

“I know that there are children usually, I think, at that age, young adults who want the apprenticeships.”

“We provide the apprenticeships, they do the apprenticeships and we haven't got the tradesmen at the end of it because they leave that particular discipline. So that is one of the issues that we really need to address.”

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