Written by MyVueNews Staff Writer Posted On: Thursday, 16 February 2017
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Basseterre, St. Kitts , 16th February, 2017 (MyVueNews.com) - The Team Unity administration has shifted over from the controversial People’s Empowerment Program (PEP) to a Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP) in a launch that took place at the Circus, downtown, Basseterre, on Thursday, 16th February.
Speaking with Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards, he pointed out how important it was to have the PEP program reformed.
Richards said, “In the context of Team Unity, the reformation of the PEP program was very important. We said from the beginning that our young people are important, perhaps the most important resource we have here in St. Kitts and Nevis. It is incumbent upon us, as a Government, to ensure that our young people are equipped with the necessary skills to move this country forward.”
He emphasized as an example that the PEP program, with over 3,000 persons, only had 114 persons in training, according to a report by CDB. “This is unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. This could not be allowed to continue.”
Richards continued, “So we are reforming the PEP program into the STEP program. In this program we want to ensure that participants get the required skills, that they are competent. It is about giving persons a skill for a lifetime. Once the person is provided with training, it would be a skill they can take with them anywhere.”
The launch of STEP signals the reformed PEP promised formally in the National Assembly of St. Kitts and Nevis in August 2016. The prime minister said then that it would be genuine Skills Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP).
Prime Minister Harris said at the time, ”STEP will be a major advancement, a step up, if you will, on PEP in terms of its philosophical underpinnings, objectives, deliverables and costs to the country. It will be rooted in a people centered governance framework.”
Generally, STEP offers a “short-term formal training in areas where there is an insufficiency of adequate entry level and level 2 skills and competences to meet market demands especially in the area of tourism and hospitality, and construction,” Government officials have confirmed
In addition, it is expected that STEP will offer short-term job attachments or apprenticeships where persons will be given a period to learn through the hands-on approach, while stressing soft skills — behaviour, conduct and values for sustainable living.
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