Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris speaking to STEP employees during Soft Skills Training Programme. Also present at the head table (L-R): STEP Director, Mr. Wendell Wattley; Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Wendell Wattley; Former Director of Gender Affairs, Mrs. Ingrid Charles-Gumbs, and International Social Skills Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist, Dr. Neals Chitan.


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, November 15, 2018 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)– Employees under the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), attached to the Bird Rock, Needsmust, Conaree and National Heroes Park units, took part in a one-day Soft Skills Training Programme, with a special focus on conflict management.

Soft skills refer to the traits and interpersonal skills that characterize one’s relationships with others.

The training programme was held today (Thursday, November 15) at the Conaree Community Centre. The sessions were conducted by International Social Skills Consultant and Crime Reduction Specialist, Dr. Neals Chitan and Former Director of Gender Affairs, Mrs. Ingrid Charles-Gumbs.

Mr. Osbert DeSuza, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for STEP, said soft skills training is an important component of the STEP programme. Addressing the STEP employees, he noted that, “The whole idea is to start to provide effective soft skills training to our STEP employees. I think this is something we can do for you to help build positive characters among all of you.”

Prime Minister and Minister of People Empowerment, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris visited the training session where he delivered brief words of inspiration and encouragement to the STEP workers in attendance. The Prime Minister challenged the participants to be the best possible version of themselves they can be, not only for their own benefit but also for the benefit of their families and communities.

“You must want to be the best that you can be. You must want it for your children, you must want it for your neighbours and for your communities,” Dr. Harris said.

Prime Minister Harris also stressed the importance of soft skills to the STEP workers, noting that this type of training can aid in the employability of individuals.

In strengthening his point, Dr. Harris asked the STEP employees to ponder for a moment the possibility of the Government-run programme suddenly coming to an end, resulting in each STEP employee being faced with the task of seeking employment elsewhere.

“What would you say to an employer that you can do? If they asked ‘who was your supervisor?’, what kind of report could that supervisor honestly give about you? Can they say ‘he or she came to work every day’, that ‘they were respectful [or] disciplined’?” the Prime Minister questioned, while noting that soft skills are invaluable qualities that most employers look for in prospective employees.

Permanent Secretary DeSuza noted that it is their intention to take this Soft Skills Training Programme to STEP employees throughout the entire island, with West Basseterre targeted as the location for the next exercise. Areas of focus for future training exercises will include money management and civic responsibility.


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