Planning For Launch Of S.T.E.P. At An Advanced Stage

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Mr. Osbert DeSuza, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for PEP

Press Release

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 10, 2017 (SKNIS): The People’s Employment Programme (PEP) is set to undergo a revolutionary change when it officially metamorphosizes into the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) comeFebruary 16, 2017, when the historic launch of STEP takes place at the Circus, Basseterre, at 4:30 pm.

To this end, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for PEP, Mr. Osbert Desuza, has been meeting with officials from the PEP, representatives from the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP) and representatives from the TVET (Technical Vocational Education and Training) Secretariat, who are involved in the planning process for the inauguration of STEP. The most recent meeting was held in the Parliamentary Lounge at Government Headquarters on February 10.

Mr. Desuza meeting with representatives of PEP, TVET Secretariat and NSTP at Government Headquarters

Mr. Desuza, along with a team, has been involved for the past few weeks in a sensitization campaign in several communities around the island to re-orient and re-socialize those engaged on the PEP about the paradigm shift in attitude and work ethics that is needed to fully embrace the philosophy of STEP. Several communities, including Newtown, Cayon, Saddlers, Dieppe Bay, and West Basseterre, have had preparatory session thus far ahead of the launch of STEP.

In August of 2016, at a sitting of the National Assembly, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, explained that in keeping with the Team Unity Administration’s Prosperity Agenda, the PEP will be ameliorated.

According to the prime minister, the government seeks “to re-organize, restructure and reposition the PEP programme into a genuine Skills Training and Empowerment Programme (STEP).

Prime Minister Harris further indicated that the ”STEP will be a major advancement, 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.”

Participants of the STEP will receive “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,” he said.

Additionally, the prime minister said that the STEP will offer short-term job attachment or apprenticeship where persons will be given a period to learn through the hands-on approach, while stressing that soft skills—behaviour, conduct and values for sustainable living will be underscored. He also mentioned that “STEP will articulate with other programmes supervised with a National Training Institute.”