Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 03, 2016 (SKNIS): The People Empowerment Programme (PEP), which is approaching its fourth anniversary and what was only designed to be a short-term skills training programme, will be re-organized, restructured and repositioned into a genuine Skills Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP) where there can be value for money. The National Skills Training Institute will advance the targeted training with respect to STEP to be implemented under the PEP in non-traditional areas such as small engine repair, carpet installation, carpentry, masonry and construction. Also, training in the hospitality industry would be given paramount importance as St. Kitts and Nevis seeks to meet the demands of a thriving professional service-oriented hospitality industry.


The STEP programme will offer short-term job attachment or apprenticeship where persons are given a stint to learn by doing work where they are monitored, evaluated and certified if they are up to par; entrepreneur/incubator programmes will be offered; there will be short term strategic non-obstructionist intervenor in the labour market; and support will be offered to enhance soft skills with respect to behaviour, conduct, and values for sustainable living. The STEP programme will also articulate with other programmes supervised with a National Training Institute.


In addition to those enrolled on the PEP, The National Skills Training Institute will accept applications from persons not on the PEP who demonstrate the right attitude, qualifications and interest to be trained.


Already, all workers on the PEP who are involved in the enhancement of the physical environment have expressed interest in an area in which they would like to be formally trained so that they can be certified.


At the last sitting of the National Assembly on August 23, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris outlined that the “STEP will be a major advancement, step up if you will on PEP in terms of its philosophical underpinnings, objectives, deliverables and costs to the country. It will be rooted in a people- centered governance framework.”


According to the prime minister, the participants of the STEP will receive “short-term formal training in areas where there is an insufficiency of adequate entry level and level 2 skills and competences to meet market demands, especially in the area of tourism and hospitality and construction.”


He said that with the “geometric growth in our cruise tourism and in stay-over visitors, we can easily estimate over 1000 jobs will become available in tourism and hospitality over the next two (2) years – specifically to service the Park Hyatt with over 300 persons, KOI Resort with over 300 persons, and T-Loft with over 400 employees. Additionally, he mentioned that St. Kitts Castle and other properties are moving a pace in St. Kitts and Nevis.


In the meanwhile, meetings have been ongoing to bring about the desired changes to the PEP, which will see people benefit from real training in areas where they can be productive.


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