Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 13, 2019 (S.T.E.P.) — Trainees on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) will be among nationals and residents who will benefit from Team Unity Government’s advancement of the country’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Programme.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, People Empowerment et al, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, while presenting Budget Address 2020 in the National Assembly on Thursday December 12, said his government has financed a TVET programme that will transform the country’s learning spaces; infuse ICT in the curriculum which will result in the construction of ICT labs; and TVET multi-purpose workshops both on St. Kitts and on Nevis.
“We are indeed better preparing all our people including those on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) for the world of work.” said Dr Harris.
According to the Honourable Prime Minister, the St. Kitts and Nevis TVET Council will soon be able to issue Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) certificates locally.
“This is critical if the nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis are to play an effective role in the regional initiatives, the free movement programme for example,” said Dr Harris. “We will require that we have our persons certified, as barbers, as engineers, whatever services they are engaged in and we will, right here in St. Kitts in the near future be able to do so once our TVET Council receives its accreditation.”
Team Unity Administration, Prime Minister Harris told the National Assembly, is implementing its policies from a clear strategy, not the ad hoc, topsy-turvy approach to education and training that it inherited.
He recalled that over 4000 persons were involved in the then People Employment Programme (PEP) and when external parties came in to look at what was happening, they were amazed to find that only less than 150 of the 4,000 were exposed to training. He further noted that even the TVET-type training they were exposed to was a package adapted from Jamaica that had long outlived its useful life.
The Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) which is administered from the Office of the Prime Minister was launched in February 2017 as a new model to replace the People Employment Programme (PEP).
“Mr Speaker we have brought in experts from the CBD, doing consultancy, and we are attempting right here in our country to get our TVET Council accredited so that they can deliver the right kind of training to our people in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Prime Minister Harris, who was presenting the Budget Address 2020 under the caption ‘Let’s keep building a stronger and safer future for St. Kitts and Nevis’. “There is a better way of doing things and it is this better way that we are pursuing at this particular moment in time.”
Under the auspices of the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the STEP, Mr Osbert DeSuza, trainees on the STEP have recently been exposed to Soft Skills Training sessions on Technical and Vocational Training (TVET). These sessions have been facilitated by Dr Kertney Thompson, CEO TVET Secretariat, and Mr Clyde Christopher, Director of the Advanced Vocational Education Centre (AVEC).