Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 02, 2017 (SKNIS): The Skills Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP) is more focused and goal oriented in an effort to give interns a higher quality of certified training in areas that are critical in the field of work in St. Kitts and Nevis, said Osbert DeSuza, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Coordinator of STEP.

“The training that we are delivering under the STEP is modular and time-based and we have agreements with the facilitators. We are working on the certification mechanism and all training will be implemented by the Caribbean Association of National Training Authority (CANTA) standard, so we are working with a standard,” said PS DeSuza, adding that to date a total of 80 trainees have been identified to participate in the programme. “And when we are settled on these persons and the time draws nigh for them to be evaluated and certified we will begin the process of identifying another set of persons who can receive training.”

Mr. DeSuza said that some of the areas identified for training are mechanical engineering, air conditioning, electrical, and plumbing maintenance, food and beverage, bartending, landscaping and housekeeping.

He said that the government is shifting the emphasis of the programme to ensure that there are persons in the country who are certified in order for them to improve their standard of living, be it at home or abroad.

“Originally, the trainees will be given a National Vocational Education Training Certificate (NVETC) and the better of the set will move to the Advanced Vocational Education Centre (AVEC) after which they will be given a Caribbean Vocational Education Training Certificate (CVETC),” he said. “This means that at the end of that programme our nationals can move across the region and secure a livelihood for themselves based on the training that they would have received under the STEP Programme.”

The STEP coordinator said that a tripartite agreement was signed between the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP), the STEP and the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council on February 16, 2017, when the programme was launched.

“The document speaks at length to the roles and responsibilities of each of these parties to this agreement. This document came as a result of some nine meetings between the NTSP and TVET Secretariat. The document also speaks to what is expected in relation to reporting, monitoring and evaluation of the training,” he said. “So this is a comprehensive document that will clearly define the relationship between all parties that are involved.”

Mr. DeSuza said that people should appreciate that a skill is always a good thing to have and so it is his hope and that of the government for the trainees to take the training seriously. He further stated that a “skill is an advisable thing to have and if one is good at a particular skill”, chances are he/she will do much better than some persons within the civil service.