Department of Labour Helping to Prepare Youth for the Workforce‏

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 24, 2016 (SKNIS): Students at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) who are set to enter the workforce at the end of their studies will undoubtedly find the adjustment less of a challenge thanks to an annual intervention from the Department of Labour.

 Acting Labour Commissioner, Shernel James, revealed that staff of her department interacts with students from the Hospitality Division of the CFBC every year to prepare them for the world of work. Topics covered include seeking a job, the rights and responsibilities of workers, labour laws, work ethics etc.

 Labour Officer, Jacqueline Chiverton, leads in this initiative and said the sessions have been held for the past three to four years in the month of March. The class is usually made up students in their second year of studies/training and the sessions were described as interactive.

 Ms. James said there are plans to establish a similar programme at secondary schools across the island. However, a careful study needs to be done to determine the target audience as Fifth Form students are often busy completing academic requirements in order to sit the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) ‘O’ Level Proficiency Exams.

 “We’ll have to look at its approach and target maybe the first form students and higher because it is a continuous learning programme,” she said. “We [have sessions] also with the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP) and with the People Employment Programme (PEP).”

 The NSTP offers non-formal, flexible, short-term training for a wide cross-section of the population, from persons who did not complete their formal education to professionals, while PEP seeks to empower participants by providing training to assist in the development of the requisite human resource capabilities and entrepreneurial skills.

 Young persons who are already out of school and seeking a job are also given assistance by officials from the Department of Labour. One such activity involves an 8-week training programme, currently on the way with clients from the Department of Social Services. Already in its fourth week of training, the young men and women are learning how to write a resume, how to dress for a job interview, what qualities employers look for in staff, how to maintain a job, and the responsibilities of employees to ensure the business succeeds.

 “The idea is to boost their attractiveness to employers which in turn could help them become gainfully employed,” Ms. James said.

 Training for this project is being hosted in the communities of Newtown, Old Road and Cayon. Labour Officer Chiverton is also leading one of the trainings and said that a practical session will take place on Thursday when several Human Resource Managers from public and private sectors will visit the sessions and conduct mock job interviews with the participants. At the conclusion of the exercise, the HR managers will provide feedback to the participants and advise how best to strengthen their performance.

 Employers, employees or unemployed persons who wish to engage the services offered by the Department of Labour are encouraged to visit the office in the John Gumbs Building on the Bay Road, Basseterre or telephone 762.1029.

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