STEP trainees seen with Mr. DeSuza (2nd left, front row), and officials from the TVET Secretariat, AVEC and STEP at the Old Road Community Centre on Oct. 31.

Trainees on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) will be among nationals and residents who will benefit from the Team Unity Government’s advancement of the country’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Programme, which Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, touted while presenting his Budget Address 2020 in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Dr. Harris 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 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,” he said. “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.”

The Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), administered from the Office of the Prime Minister, was launched in Feb. 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. “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).