Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 02, 2017 (SKNIS): Appearing on the radio-television show “Working for You” on March 01, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Osbert DeSuza, said that there is a soft skills training component to the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP).

Mr. DeSuza said that these trainings will aid in the employability of individuals but that this will be a task with some challenges.

“From some of these meetings, I know that it is difficult with some of these fellows,” he said. “It is difficult to interact with them. So, you will have to impress upon them that this is what is expected when you go on a job site, this is what is expected when you go in an office.”

The permanent secretary added that should they become civil servants it is vital that they should show respect towards authority.

“People have to understand that if you go to work, let’s say at the Water Department, officially as a civil servant, you can’t talk to your supervisor as you like,” he said. “You can’t swear to your supervisor; you can’t come to work dressed in short pants or for the ladies in what they call straps. So, these are the things that we will be adding to the soft skills training, which to me are very important.”

Mr. DeSuza said that it was recognised during one of the meetings that persons indeed need training in soft skills as one person showed signs of being disrespectful.

“Those are the challenges that we have, but we are complementing the training in a particular skill, such as plumbing, air conditioning maintenance and what have you with training in employability skills, training in social and soft skills and of course basic introduction to entrepreneurship.”

Mr. Desuza said that his time at the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) office as the project manager equipped him with understanding how these skills training should be delivered. In addition, he said that he understands training in entrepreneurship, an area that persons in the programme can benefit from.
The Government of National Unity launched its Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) on Thursday, February 16, of this year, which offers persons an opportunity to learn a skill and obtain a job attachment as part of a programme.

STEP was formerly known as the People Employment Programme (PEP). It was reorganized, restructured and repositioned to ensure that the trainees receive genuine training and learn the necessary work ethics.

Mr. DeSuza, was tasked with overseeing the PEP programme in 2015 and guiding its transformation into STEP. Aiding him in the upgrade process was a committee comprising of representatives from the National Skills Training Programme and the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Secretariat.