Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 2, 2018 (S.T.E.P.) — Government agency, Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) has mobilised community clean-up groups in all the villages in St. Kitts and according to STEP Field Coordinator, Mr William Phillip, it has been a win-win situation as it relates to the STEP interns and members of the communities they serve.
Mr Phillip observed that while STEP interns assigned to the community clean-up groups are doing splendid work in keeping the villages clean, they are also learning skills in the area of landscaping adding that a few of them have left the programme to set up their own businesses after they would have acquired the needed skills.
The STEP official made the comments on Tuesday October 30 in Tabernacle Village when he, along with STEP field officers Mr Damien Weekes and Mr Jason McKoy, visited one of the community clean-up crew that takes care of the Tabernacle cemetery. They were received by Mr Keith Phipps, Field Supervisor for Tabernacle, Mansion and Christchurch villages, and Mr Campbell Mercer, the group supervisor.
The group has a number of STEP interns attached to it, and according to Mr Phillip, their daily tasks are to cut the grass, dispose of the green waste, and also to make sure that the landscape is in good order. By doing that task, the interns are empowered as STEP provides each of them with the tools of trade including weed eaters, rakes, wheelbarrows, and are also trained in landscaping.
“That is the kind of empowerment we are looking,” said Mr Phillip. “You learn a skill, and you venture into the type of operation you want to and then you in turn teach someone the skill you have learnt. It is not just employment – the Skills Training Empowerment Programme is not an employment agency. That has been changed since we moved from PEP (People Employment Programme) to Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP).”
STEP Field Supervisor for the villages of Tabernacle, Mansion and Christchurch, Mr Keith Phipps, noted that since that clean-up crew came into being and assigned to work at the Tabernacle cemetery he would have seen great changes, which are also being appreciated by the villagers.
“This area by the cemetery was overgrown and from since this STEP group took control of it, you can see the results,” said Mr Phipps. “Everybody is commenting how wonderful the place is looking. There have been some significant changes and one day a young lady called me and told me she is very proud to see the work that is being done within the community, and thank God that STEP is doing a great work.”
STEP Field Coordinator Mr Williams Phillip said that there was a willingness by the STEP interns to do the landscaping work noting that apart from earning a salary and making their communities look clean, they are learning a trade. He added that some have left the programme and gone to the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis to get loans and get their own equipment and are now doing landscaping on their own and some have even come back to STEP to request for interns to be attached to their operations.
“That is the way we at Skills Training Empowerment Programme are heading,” concluded Mr Phillip.