From July 2016 through November 2020 the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) implemented the Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) Program in the Caribbean, including Guyana, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This program offered workforce development skills to at-risk youth through Basic Life and Employability Skills (BLES) life coach training. Participants used their newfound skills to secure jobs and become a source of positivity and motivation for other youth in their community.
The newly established Regal Consultancy Services (RCS) in Guyana was founded by Sidney Nelson, a participant of PADF’s BLES training, with support from Kiefer Bacchus, former BLES facilitator. Through RCS, Nelson and Bacchus are providing youth with various professional services to support local businesses and individuals. In this interview, they discuss how the PADF project inspired their new venture and what they aim to achieve.
RCS Founder, Program Manager
RCS Lead Researcher
RCS is a full-fledged professional services consultancy created to provide support to businesses and individuals in their unique projects. Support includes training and facilitation, research and proposal writing, project management, and more.
RCS was created to meet the increasing demand for local professionals in Guyana. The team was assembled on the merits of the successful implementation of the USAID/PADF BLES program. This intervention was an endorsement of the competence and professionalism of team RCS.
The BLES model was driven by needs for skill and job readiness, along with field research to gain a comprehensive understanding of the needs of local at-risk communities, and through discussions with key regional stakeholders, including government agencies, business owners, and the private sector. These are fundamental pillars in the operations of RCS.
While RCS is a new consultancy firm, founded on May 3, 2021, whose impact is still being measured, we have begun designing rapid impact projects with youth, ages 16-29, as the focus. The consultancy aims to provide employment opportunities by equipping participants with life skills and job readiness training, inspired by BLES. While there are currently no specific programs for youth empowerment specifically, it is something that we aim to explore in the future.
Being a BLES life coach means being a link between disenfranchised youth and resources, such as life skills and job readiness training, psychosocial support, back-to-school programs, employment, and other opportunities. Being a life coach means helping young people access tools to leverage their socio-economic position.
Ms. Loriann Alexander is a beneficiary of the BLES program, whose story is worth nothing. Through BLES, she participated in CV writing, job interview preparation, and elevator pitch sessions. Having completed the program, she applied the skills obtained to pursue her dream job as a prison officer. Loriann completed the officers’ Basic Recruit Training Course on May 22, 2020, after training for three months. It has been just over one year since Loriann has been stationed at her current location in Timehri, where she holds the post of officer-in-charge/assistant secretary.
Loriann in her role as officer-in-charge/assistant secretary.
Sidney Nelson, founder of RCS, on what being a BLES life coach means to him:
This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.