Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 24, 2017 (SKNIS): A number of persons turned out on Wednesday, February 22, for the orientation of the newly launched Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), which is aimed at ensuring that STEP interns meet the labour market demands through a series of skills-based training.
The interns were given an overview of the programme and were encouraged by Mr. Osbert DeSuza, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Coordinator of STEP, to take the training seriously, as the government fully supports the certification of all who are a part of STEP.
“The effort that we are putting into this, we want you to complement this effort by taking the training seriously,” he said, while noting that government is in the process of shifting the programme from employment to skills training, thus opening up persons to greater opportunities. “We want you to enter into this with a determination that you are taking it to the end. We want you to enter this programme with a determination that you can do it and we want you to enter the programme with the fact in mind that when you have a certificate and you go to the Peninsula you can stand side by side beside anybody who enters this country on a work permit.”
Mr. DeSuza said that he is of the strong view that locals have the same abilities as persons who enter the island seeking job, and as such they should be given the necessary training needed to meet the local job market.
“We are in the process of exploiting that capability and letting you realize your potential so that we can prepare a cadre of local persons who is equipped to take up these jobs as they become available, particularly in the hospitality sector,” said Mr. DeSuza, while referencing the number of jobs that will come on stream when the Park Hyatt Hotel officially opens its doors in March 2017. “We want our people to realize that the government is making a concerted effort via the change of PEP to STEP to equip you with the necessary skills to gain employment in the hospitality sector.”
He encouraged the interns to inform the relevant authorities should they encounter any challenges with the programme so that a solution can be arrived at, as the aim is to get everyone to successfully complete the training. He said that the training the interns will receive will improve their standard of living.
The training, which will commence on Monday, March 06, will be facilitated by the National Training Skills Programme (NTSP) with the support of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council. NTSP falls under the Ministry of Education and is a post-secondary institution that caters mainly for persons who are out of the formal education system. The institution provides hands-on training in various occupational areas such as hospitality, building construction, beauty services, business administration, industrial maintenance, sewing, agro-processing, arts and graphics and tailoring on both full time and part time basis.