STEP employees participating in the Soft Skills Training Programme.

(Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -– 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 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 Nov. 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.

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.

“The whole idea is to start to provide effective soft skills training to our STEP employees,” DeSuza said. “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 and delivered brief words of inspiration and encouragement. He 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,” Dr. Harris said. “You must want it for your children, you must want it for your neighbours and for your communities,”

Dr. 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.

Dr. Harris asked the audience to ponder 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 asked while noting that soft skills are invaluable qualities that most employers look for in prospective employees.

DeSuza noted their intention is to take this Soft Skills Training Programme to STEP employees across the entire island. West Basseterre is targeted as the location for the next exercise. Future training exercises will focus on money management and civic responsibility.