Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Dr Earl Asim Martin, has said that the opening on Friday November 1 of the PEP School of Cosmetology and Salon at the Newtown Community Centre was a clear indication that the People Employment Programme (PEP) was doing wonders for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“It was almost one year ago that the People Employment Programme was officially launched by the Hon Prime Minister the Rt Hon Dr Denzil Douglas at Bank Street,” said Dr Martin. “When the programme was launched there was a clear sign of enthusiasm amongst our young people to participate in such a programme.
“It was a programme that was designed to provide our young people with necessary skills and job opportunities that will take them to the next level that the Federation will intend to move,” added the Hon Dr Martin, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for Constituency One that includes the Newtown area.
According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the opening of the School of Cosmetology and a state of the art salon at the Newtown Community Centre was an opportunity the government was providing the 24 young trainees, who are sponsored by PEP, to develop their skills in cosmetology; in the areas of skin care, nail care, and hair care.
“I want to thank the trainees for taking this opportunity and coming forth and be part of this particular programme,” said Dr Martin. “We know that it will provide you with the necessary skills that you yourself will have the opportunity to go out there and organise your own business. As a matter of fact that is the objective of the programme.
“The objective of the programme is that it would provide you with the necessary skills training that at the end of this programme you would have developed the necessary skills and acquired the necessary training that will encourage you to go out as individuals and organise your own businesses.”
Dr Martin told the trainees that as the government was moving forward, that it was providing the opportunities as it develops the new economy which is the ‘green economy’, noting that the green economy will provide them with the necessary skills that will be able to sustain them over a long period of time in their livelihood.
“We want to say that you probably have a few more months to complete your programme,” remarked the Deputy Prime Minister. “We will want you to take advantage of those months that are left and ensure that you do your best and I expect that at the end of the day, the twenty-four trainees will graduate as cosmetologists.”
Also encouraging the trainees was the Minister of Social and Community Development, the Hon Marcella Liburd, who said that the opening of the School of Cosmetology under the People Employment Programme was raising what was being done in cosmetology to the next level as it will give them a perfect opportunity to practise.
“Without practise you cannot make it,” advised Minister Liburd. “The opening of the School of Cosmetology gives you the opportunity to do the practical work so that when you get out there, with your certification, people can feel comfortable to come and get their hair done – not people like me, because you know I do not have any hair.”
She caused a light moment because when the state of the art salon was officially open, with Ponds Pasture resident Mrs Iza Phillip cutting the ribbon, Minister Liburd was the first ‘client’, with course facilitating Ms Juliette Queeley mockingly cutting the Minister’s nonexistent hair.
Minister Liburd told the trainees that hair was big business, but for them to succeed, they must exhibit the right attitude. She told them that getting skills and certification was not everything as attitude played a critical role. She said that what the People Employment Programme was doing for them was to make them independent, as that is what it was intended to do.
“My message to you today is, change your lens,” said Hon Liburd. “Very often as people, we only look for the negative. We are experts on what is wrong, but do we sell the good side? Do we also point out the good side?
“Look deep within you each of us, and see what can we do to make ourselves and the programme better. Today change your lens, put on the positive lens for a change. Look at yourselves positively for a change because this is an opportunity for self-development.”
The cosmetology course is being facilitated by Ms Juliette Queeley and Mrs Amoy Arache. Present at the official opening included PEP Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley; PEP Training Coordinator Mrs Celia Christopher; PEP official, Mrs Diana Pemberton; Acting Director, National Skills Training Programme, Mrs June James; Facilitator for PEP’s Early Childhood Programme, Mrs Vanta Walters; and Teacher Ms Latoya Merchant of the Tucker Clarke Primary school, among others.