PEP: A progressive step that is revolutionising work ethics
Basseterre, St. Kitts — The People Employment Programme (PEP) which was launched by Prime Minister and Minister with responsibility for Human Resource the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas in December 2012, is realising its mandate by developing a new work ethic in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“PEP is a revolutionary progressive step in the development of a new work ethic, with a focus on the professional advancement of our people,” said PEP’s Programme Officer (Monitoring and Evaluations) Mrs Beverley Williams.
“Initially, it provides employment for thousands, which is critical at this time when we are still feeling the effects of a global recession,” commented the PEP official in reference to the programme’ mandate which has so far resulted in the training and employment of hundreds of young persons both on St. Kitts and on Nevis.
Mrs Williams’ remarks were delivered last month (June) at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College’s Nathaniel-John Hospitality Service Centre during the graduation ceremony of 19 Hospitality and Culinary Arts trainees under the People Employment Programme, all who have since been offered full time employment in their areas of training.
“It is also a fact that some of our regional counterparts are contemplating the implementation of our model,” revealed Mrs Williams. “Apart from its positive impact on the national economy, PEP is providing our people with the requisite skills for coping with the opportunities that exist in entrepreneurship and employment in the emerging fields beyond the confines of the sugar industry.
“The lanes of the new economic highway are open and our people are being prepared for the diverse business and employment opportunities that lie ahead.”
Ushering the 19 graduates to the world of work, PEP’s Programme Officer (Monitoring and Evaluations) Mrs Beverley Williams implored the 19 graduates to resolve to put the skills that they had acquired through the People Employment Programme to good use and to maximise the opportunity granted to them.
“It is important for you to dedicate your energies towards empowering yourselves and creating your own bench-marks for your family’s security,” advised Mrs Williams. “Today, no doubt, is proof that you are on that path. You are on a path that leads to success, financial independence and better social and economic conditions.”
According to Mrs Williams, the graduates were not the only winners as local businesses also stood to benefit tremendously from the skills the graduates had acquired in that training programme, saying the businesses would be pleased to have the nineteen graduates. Indeed all have been offered full time employment by various employers in the hospitality industry.
“It is also our duty, each of us here today to encourage the participants of the People Employment Programme,” advised Mrs Williams. “They could have chosen a destructive or counterproductive path when they found themselves out of employment, but instead they are here, trying to build their future, and we must support them on that journey.
“This is only the start of a historic life-changing event for many. It has always been said that it pays to learn but it gets even better as PEP pays you to learn. My sincere congratulations to you the pioneers of PEP, you have opened new personal horizons and have paved the way for those who will follow you, as PEP grows from strength to strength, touching the lives of many from year to year.”
Echoing Mrs Williams’ remarks was Ms Marsha Bassue, Director of the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Division at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, who along with Mr Peter Marshall, a lecturer at the same division, saw the successful churning out of a cadre of trained personnel in the hospitality industry which according to Mrs Williams, is PEP Level One.
Ms Bassue explained that they ensured they gave the hospitality industry the best in terms of personnel and noted it was achieved by making the training programme for that particular set up of PEP students a special one as the college merged the hospitality Food and Beverage service along with the culinary arts.
“The students were able to graduate with double skills,” observed Ms Bassue. “They are more than ready for the workplace and more competitive because they have both skills. They can work front of the house and they can work back of the house.”
According to Ms Bassue, the training and eventual successful graduation of the 19 students who were sponsored by the People Employment Programme is a success story and at the college they are happy the government was able to give those students the opportunity to get that training.
“PEP is the way to go; please continue,” remarked Ms Bassue. “I say it was an ingenious idea in terms of our government coming up with such a strategic move for our people to provide training and to equip its people with the paperwork that they would need because I believe after this programme they will be certified and so they can be now competitive throughout the region.”