BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS — People Employment Programme (PEP) sponsored Business Studies students at the Averil Archibald College on Lozack Road in Basseterre have completed level one training in the area of Customer Care, and are getting ready to be assessed for the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) competency.
According to the course facilitator, Ms Averil Archibald, the class that started in March this year is now made up of sixteen students, among them two males, as two of the senior students in the initial group landed fulltime employment in the private sector. The Customer Care part of the course took about ten weeks.
“Normally when we hear about Customer Care, one tends to think in the box and think just about dealing with customers directly; how you deal with customers,” observed Ms Archibald. “But this training entails communication on a whole in the workplace. In fact it has about 20 units to it. Some are mandatory and some are elective.”
The course facilitator stressed that the training was very comprehensive, not just dealing with customers, as the students should have computer knowledge of the various programmes like Word and Excel and Access, handling telephone calls, accessing the internet, how to set up customer accounts, receive visitors, and locating store files among others.
With the completion of the level one training, they will be assessed but in the meantime, Ms Archibald has continued with the training of the students. They are now into Office Administration level one.
“This will also be about the same duration, but they are also doing CXC General, because they cannot function properly in an office if they do not have for example English,” commented Ms Archibald. “That is why they are doing CXC English, Office Administration, Principles of Accounts and EDPM (Computer Literacy).”
Of the two male students in the class, Ms Archibald stated that they do not feel out of place, because the course is not secretarial but rather it is in Office Administration that they are being trained.
PEP’s Training Co-ordinator Mrs Celia Christopher commended Ms Archibald for the work she is doing on the students because they all look very professional in the way they are presenting themselves in the wider communities and she hopes that trend will continue.
“She has been doing a very good job with those students preparing them to take on office administration roles,” observed Mrs Christopher. “As you note, these kinds of services are needed in the management component of any business. That is another pool that we can draw from for services that are needed for any industry in the private sector.”
Two senior students in the class, Ms Keisha Henry and Ms Arlene Rawlins, who would have had previous work experience before they joined the People Employment Programme have said that they have learned more in the short period they have been under the tutelage of Ms Averil Archibald than in any other time of their lives.
“I started at the Newtown Community Centre, and then I got a transfer to come over here, Averil Archibald College,” observed Ms Henry. “I got the transfer because where they had put me first it wasn’t something that I wanted to do. I wanted to pursue more into the office administration course. In Newtown I was doing hospitality.”
Both the students were full of praise for Facilitator Archibald in the way she has taught them the proper office etiquette, something which people still take for granted. They say that once they acquire their CVQ proficiency certificates, they would be in a position to gain gainful employment anywhere within the CARICOM region.
Ms Arlene Rawlins joined PEP in March, after working in the hospitality industry where she says some of it was in administration. Her short stint at the Averil Archibald College with the sponsorship of the People Employment Programme has changed the way she looked at the administration career.
“If I were to return to where I worked in the hospitality industry in the administrative section, they would get a better worker with more knowledge,” said Ms Rawlins. “I am more mature, and capable. PEP is not only giving us the opportunity to get the experience, qualifications, but we are also being paid.”