CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (July 17, 2013) — Prominent Nevis businessman, Mr Gaston Barry, has always maintained that the country has the resources and capability to locally train its youth for the job market in various fields instead of sending them overseas for training. He is hailing the People Employment Programme (PEP) for practically proving him right.
“I think PEP is a very good programme, something that is sometimes lacking in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Mr Barry in a recent interview. The Proprietor of Gaspree 24 Hours of Craddock Road in Charlestown, he is one of the several employers with interns from the People Employment Programme on board for training.
“That is something I have been trying to encourage the ministers (of government) to do rather than sending the young boys overseas,” observed Mr Barry. “First of all, it is my impression that you have to prepare them first with basic English and Maths, and then we can move into the more practical aspect of what they are doing.”
Talking of the experience he has with those attached to his company for training, Mr Barry said that it was challenging at first but after a month he started seeing drastic improvement, not only in their work skills, but also their interpersonal skills and attitude to work.
“Certainly, they are going to benefit from the training they are receiving,” he said when asked if the trainees are benefiting over and above the salary they are earning, and if they have the aptitude to learn. “Certainly they are the material I am looking out for. I give them up to six months … I think after six months they will be ready for the work force.”
Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley, after visiting three employers in Nevis who have taken on interns from PEP, said: “The People Employment Programme is very pleased to have the support of the employers over in Nevis, how they have embraced the programme and we are grateful for their time and their skills that they are sharing with PEP participants. We are grateful for their support once again and the direction in which the PEP is taking off in Nevis.
Ms Krista Chapman, proprietor of Rainbow Beauty Salon and Spa at Cedar Tress in Charlestown, has three interns seconded from the People Employment Programme, Ms Kerrie Liburd, Ms Erica Doras, and Ms Nadia David.
“I believe in helping young people, and because we do not have a lot of skilled persons, I decided to help with the training of these young ladies,” said Ms Chapman. “They will definitely be able to stand on their own, they will be able to open their own business if they so desire, because they learn everything from relaxers to hair clipping, I teach them how to do weaves, pedicures, manicures, hair colouring and facials, the whole works.”
Ms Chapman said that the People Employment Programme, which is a Federal Government of St. Kitts and Nevis initiative with funding support from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), is a wonderful programme and that, “I love the idea that they are trying to find employment for the young people. It is a very good idea. I think people in Nevis have received it well.”
Ms Kerrie Liburd, a PEP intern attached to the Rainbow Beauty Salon and Spa, said the People Employment Programme was helping young people on Nevis a lot, especially people who do not have any jobs.
“In the six months that I will be on attachment I will get a lot out of it, because we are doing different things every day,” observed Ms Liburd. “With the certification that we will get, I could even get a job overseas. I am quite happy with the training. I would advice other young people to join the PEP as it helps young people a lot, so I would expect that they would be willing to join.”
PEP’s Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, singled out for praise, a 20-year old entrepreneur, Mr Dijaun Jack CEO of Jack and Associates Limited of Stoney Grove, who has partnered with the programme by taking on three interns, one of whom (Ms Larina Browne) is the office manager. Others attached to the firm are Ms Tricilla Arthurton and Ms Nioka Thomas.
Commenting on Ms Larina Browne (the office manager), Mr Hanley said: “Although she has never done accounting, she is the one who is keeping his books and keeping him in line. She was just introduced to QuickBooks and as a matter of fact she also shared that with me in reference to how easy the QuickBooks programme can get your accounts up to date.
“We are happy and they are looking forward to more employers on Nevis coming on board and benefiting from this PEP initiative because as they share their skills and information with the PEP interns, they too are being in a position where they are saving, which would eventually enhance their business.”