People Employment Programme embarks on expansion in Nevis

CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (April 23, 2013) — The People Employment Programme (PEP), which was launched in December last year, has tangible plans to be more visible on the island of Nevis to position itself to serve more unemployed persons. To this end, PEP is currently looking for office space on the island.

PEP’s Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, was on a fact finding mission in Nevis on Friday April 19, where he visited at least four locations in Charleston’s central business district that have been identified by PEP’s Coordinator in Nevis, Ms Kerlyn Jones, for possible office space.

PEP’s Project Manager Mr Geoffrey Hanley stands at the back while in front row are from left: PEP Coordinator for Nevis, Ms Kerlyn Jones; Junior Youth Officer with Social Services Department in Nevis, Mr Vijay Harrinarain; PEP Consultant, Ms Telly Onu; Youth Services Co-ordinator in the Nevis Island Administration, Mrs Diana Pemberton; and PEP Training Coordinator, Mrs Celia Christopher.

“The People Employment Programme is a Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis programme initiative and the visit to Nevis last week Friday was one that was sanctioned by the Committee in reference to ensuring that there is a prominent presence of PEP in Nevis,” said Mr Hanley.

“We are in the process of ensuring that the office is identified, located and outfitted efficiently both to provide day-to-day walk ins and perhaps also give us an opportunity for meetings and even some training happening right there, where we are going to be located.”

According to Mr Hanley, who was accompanied by PEP’s Consultant Ms Telly Valerie Onu and PEP’s Training Coordinator Mrs Cecilia Christopher, PEP is at a stage where it is ready to do larger rollouts in reference to training in Nevis and by extension providing the necessary skills that the young persons would need to lead them to permanent jobs.

“It is an opportunity for employers in Nevis to benefit as well, as PEP takes care of the wage,” said Mr Hanley. “The employer gets an opportunity to do some saving while we are also encouraging them to assist with the training that would be needed for these participants depending on where they are placed in their business. So, I see it as a marvellous opportunity one that works for both the employer and the employee.”

Since the launch of the People Employment Programme in Nevis, a total of 220 persons have registered, while 47 employers have come on board. According to PEP Coordinator for Nevis Ms Kerlyn Jones, so far 101 of those applicants have been placed on job attachments.

“In the launching stages we had about 40 persons signing on and since then it has grown steadily to 220,” said Ms Jones. “Between February and now it really has taken off, maybe 100 persons have applied to the programme between February to date.”

PEP team at the offices of Jack and Associates Limited in Nevis. From right, Mr Geoffrey Hanley; PEP intern Ms Nioka Thomas; Mr Dijaun Jack (CEO Jack and Associates Limited); PEP interns Ms Tricilla Arthurton and Ms Larina Browne; and PEP Coordinator in Nevis, Ms Kerlyn Jones.

In the absence of a physical address for the People Employment Programme on Nevis, Ms Jones noted that many people would apply online, while some of them would have been transferred from the Social Services Department which had similar programmes.

She noted that she had collaborated very well with Social Services Department, where Mrs Diana Pemberton, Youth Services Co-ordinator in the Nevis Island Administration, had been instrumental in assisting PEP. She also mentioned Mr Vijay Harrinarain, a PEP intern with the department as a Junior Youth Officer, who would help in Mrs Pemberton’s absence.

“Once we get an office, it will be a great help to me because once there is a presence, people could be able to come in a little bit more freely,” observed Ms Jones. “They will be able to fill out forms because there are a lot of persons who are not working, but I cannot reach everyone.

“Sometimes they do not know where to pick up forms, and a lot of persons don’t have access to the internet, so they can’t go online and fill out the forms. I have been trying my best, Social Services again gave us assistance, housing a lot of the forms for me and I go there on a regular basis to pick them up. So we have had very good relationship over the past few months.”

An intended visit by the PEP team with the various employers to find out how the interns were progressing was interrupted by a heavy downpour, and as a result they only visited three employers, Gasspree Service, Rainbow Beauty Salon and Spa, and Jack and Associate Limited.

“We are pleased with the performance of Ms Jones in reference to how she has been managing the programme thus far,” concluded Mr Geoffrey Hanley.

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