Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 5, 2017 (S.T.E.P.) — The Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP), which was launched in February this year, is committed to empowering the country’s youths by offering them job skills through quality and approved training.
According to the Director of the programme, Mr Wendell Wattley, a number of STEP participants that had been attending a six-month training stint at the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP) will shortly be enrolled at the Advanced Vocational Educational Centre (AVEC).
“Based on the assessment, 31 have been selected to continue training at the AVEC with the intention to gain a national skills vocational certificate,” said Mr Wattley. “Originally 87 STEP participants had been sent to NSTP.”
He noted that participants who enrolled after STEP was started were given the opportunity of selecting the areas that they were interested in gaining skills and based on their needs they were enrolled at the National Skills Training Programme (NSTP), formerly National Youth Skills.
Assessments were done by persons who were contracted to train the participants in the various disciplines including life skills where the trainees were introduced to work ethics connected with attitude and behaviour at the workplace, and ‘hard’ skills that involved disciplines ranging from automotive, electrical, computer, to general construction among others.
“They had continuous assessment done of their performance as well as the final assessment, and based on the assessment by the facilitators the participants were graded,” said Mr Wattley.
Some of the successful 31 participants met with Mr Wattley and officials from the National Skills Training Programme led by its Director Mrs June James on Wednesday September 27 at the St. Johnston’s Community Centre in West Basseterre, where they were advised on what to expect when they move on to AVEC.
“I am very pleased that you have come here this morning to demonstrate that you are interested in your own development.” Mr Wattley told the STEP participants. “You have to make special input into your own development – your own education. The opportunities are provided for you, but you have to make the effort and take the opportunities that are granted to you.”
The STEP Director told the participants that it was based on attitude and aptitude they demonstrated at the NSTP that they had been selected to continue their training at AVEC. He advised them against negative attitudes that would only hold back their personal development.
“You are responsible for you, nobody owes you anything when it comes to your development and your education,” advised Mr Wattley. “Do not go up there to connect with the wrong crowds or wrong group of people who will say negative things about your learning. There are persons I know who started at AVEC and right now they are holding very good jobs in the technical areas. The ball is in your court – it depends on how you play that will determine your success.”
Director of the National Skills Training Programme Mrs June James was accompanied by Mr Selwyn Liburd, National Skills Training Coordinator for STEP; Mrs Elzeva Cuffy, Social Skills Instructor at NSTP; and Mr Esinton Watts, Job Development Officer at NSTP.
According to Mrs James, the STEP participants had participated in the initial six months basic training in the different vocational areas and based on their performance in that time, and their aptitude, NSTP selected those who they felt could cope with the workload at AVEC to be able to complete training at a higher level.
She explained that the STEP participants will be enrolling in the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Programme at AVEC. She further noted that with the NVQ they would be able to get jobs in the region as they would be doing it at the level of CVQ, only that St. Kitts in not yet able to award CVQ at that level.
“For the different vocational areas there are different hours that they will participate in, but the training at AVEC will take at least a year,” said Mrs James. “31 persons were recommended, however some of them would prefer to do the training part time and work fulltime jobs.”
The participants were being paid by STEP while at the National Skills Training Programme, and will continue being paid while at the Advanced Vocational Education Centre. At the end of their training at AVEC, and armed with the National Vocational Qualification certificate, they will be expected to readily find jobs in the marketplace.