PEP is a great programme, says Nevisian employer

CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS (September 24, 2013) — When the People Employment Programme (PEP) was launched in December last year, few persons understood how it worked. A leading employer on Nevis who understood the good the programme could do for the country and its people did not wait to be approached, as he went online and registered as an employer.

“I found out about the People Employment Programme, went on line and signed up for it as an employer and then I contacted them and said, hey, I am interested in these individuals,” said Mr Brian Morton, Managing Director at Island Moldings in Prospect, the Federation’s leading source of windows, moldings and doors.

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“I think it is a wonderful idea. It is a great programme. It gives people an opportunity to work; it also gives employers an opportunity to get additional assistance in which they couldn’t afford. A lot of employers want to do things like I wanted to expand and I want to do certain things but at the end of the day labour cost gets you.”

According to Mr Morton, Island Moldings was expanding, needing to add another 2,000 square feet on to the entire operations at Prospect. This came about as the company had brought new equipment worth US$75,000. With that kind of expansion, it was also felt that they needed extra staff and that is how the People Employment Programme came in handy.

“So I first started off with two and then I said let me expand to an office staff and then I brought in a secretarial staff, and now I am looking for one or two other individuals and I have a specific duty lined up for them. I want somebody in the capacity of a mechanic; one who is mechanically inclined,” commented Mr Morton.

“The PEP itself, just being able to give employers these resources, is amazing,” he emphasised. “It is a wonderful idea like I said. For now I would encourage everybody to take advantage of it. Long term, even if the PEP was to go away, what you now have is, for example I now have three individuals who before had no work experience.

“They now can put together a resume and say, hey look, I worked at Island Moldings for a year, I did this, this and that. They now understand how to interact with employees; they have learnt a lot in that period of time they would have been here. They can take that on to where else they go. So it definitely helps. PEP takes people off the streets and gives them something.”

The three interns from PEP are adjusting well to the satisfaction of Mr Morton, who has also decided to reward them in a way the interns feel that they are not only being afforded a training, but they are also being considered as actual workers and are being remunerated far better than PEP has arranged.

“PEP, they pay a minimum wage,” commented Mr Morton. “What I do is that when I bring my PEP people on, I pay them additional on top of that, just to bring their wage to a certain level for industry service.

“Some people are actually using the PEP and bringing in employees and that is just it. They are not putting, in my opinion, any investment into it themselves and I think we should be able to do that. If you have to pay them, I think you have more of a vested interest in what they are doing, what they are learning, what they are contributing, and it helps the programme in the long run.”

The three employees have fitted in quite well according to Mr Morton because he has high expectations of them and he is as a result challenging them to train as he wants them to move to a higher level. His estimate is that they have high chances of being made full time employees at Island Moldings.

Having talked of the expansion at Island Moldings, Mr Morton said: “So I am doing a major expansion and I want two persons who can come on board and kind of maintain that equipment or keep it oiled and greased, keep it cleaned up, that kind of stuff. I am going to PEP for that.”

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