BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 10, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), which was launched by the Government of National Unity in February of this year as a more organized and structured replacement to the People’s Employment Programme (PEP), is already achieving the desired results as it relates to exposing participants to certified skills training and appropriate workplace ethics.
This view was expressed by STEP Landscaping Facilitator, Mr. Michael Smith during an interview with the Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday, 9th October, 2017.
Mr. Smith, who presently trains a group of 16 STEP participants in the technical and financial aspects of landscaping, praised the holistic approach taken by the Government in the reorganization of the programme – shifting it from one that simply provides employment to one that facilitates skills training, which will enhance the employability of each participant.
“They have taken a more holistic approach where they try to not just upgrade the individual, but they have taken an approach where they have the trainees come in, learn a skill, better themselves by being more rounded [and] at the end of the training they have opportunities where they could go out on their own and start their own businesses, or they would be better equipped to go out and be gainfully employed,” said Mr. Smith, who has over five years of experience in the field of landscaping.
Mr. Smith added: “Through the STEP programme…they will now have their certificates to present when they go on an interview and they would make themselves more marketable and more job ready. I could tell you now that there are at least six of the trainees that are in my group who I can put on a job site unsupervised and leave, and I know that they will produce quality work. That is testament to the training that they get and what they have put into practice as well.”
One such trainee is Mr. Kenroy Welcome, who over the last six months under the leadership of Mr. Michael Smith, has been enrolled in STEP’s landscaping programme.
Mr. Welcome told the Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister that he was grateful for the opportunity being afforded to him under STEP. He is also encouraging others to take advantage of the training being offered in the various fields.
Aside from landscaping, STEP offers training in electrical engineering, plumbing, air conditioner maintenance, carpentry, food and beverage, mechanical repairs, bartending and housekeeping.
These areas were chosen from a list of interests that were provided by the interns. The Department of Labour also provided input in the selection of training areas by factoring in the demands of the labour market.