PEP is spearheading decentralisation of services

Basseterre, St. Kitts — A senior People Employment Programme (PEP) official is saying that with a growing tourism industry in the country, there is need to take services to the emerging stakeholders. PEP is cognisant of this need and has set the ball rolling by decentralising its training programmes.

PEP’s training co-ordinator, Mrs Celia Christopher, made the remarks on Friday October 18 when she visited a personal care training site in the rural St. Paul’s, which is home to the highly reviewed and much anticipated Kittitian Hill Project. The training, which is in the field of cosmetology, is being facilitated by Ms Petra Newton, a trained manicurist and educator, at the St. Paul’s Community Centre.

“What is happening here, these girls are into the personal care industry, which is part of the tourism industry,” observed Mrs Christopher. “It fits in nicely to what is happening around here in St. Paul’s and the other surrounding areas, because too often we centralise all of the services and we have to start decentralising these services.”

She explained that the nine young ladies who are training in the personal care industry at St. Paul’s will come in handy when the Kittitian Hill Project formally opens, because the residents (at Kittitian Hill) will not have to go far to for the personal care services.

“If you look at the setting of Kittitian Hill in the mountain you are gonna have quite a bit of employment and it dovetails nicely into that employment in the personal care industry and that also fits in with other group that we have in hospitality,” noted the PEP official. “So as the programme emerges, we are trying to meet the needs of the tourism industry, training these young people so that we can have a pool that we draw from when their services are requested.”

When Mrs Christopher visited the site, in the company of a PEP official Mrs Diana Pemberton, she found the nine female trainees making nails in preparation for a People Employment Programme Festival that is due to be held at the Independence Square in Basseterre early November.

“The task of each student is to prepare 50 nails and design them,” explained the facilitator, Ms Newton. “So that is what they are presently working on. They would polish and design 50 nails in whichever designs that they choose and they then display them however they wish to display them.”

At the time of the visit, Javielle Phipps was the only one who had finished the task, and she proudly showed her display of the 50 nails to Mrs Christopher and Mrs Pemberton. According to Facilitator Newton, all the course participants will be graded according to their performance. Ms Newton who will do the grading will have to count and ensure that all have completed the task as required.

“At the festival we will have them (nails) on display” explained Ms Newton. “In doing the fifty nails, they learnt the proper polishing procedure which is the base coat, two coats of whatever colour and then the top coat and how to design as well because we have been watching videos, and we have been looking at books on how to do it.”

She pointed out that depending on how the festival will be set up, the students can perform a basic manicure or polish and design the nails, for individuals, and if a client admires a design, then the students will be able to do it, meaning that their stand at the festival might end being a crowd puller, especially among the womenfolk.

The St. Paul’s training site started on September 23 with the nine students. Ms Petra Newton observed that although the course falls under the cosmetology umbrella, they are doing the manicuring section, which also includes pedicure, acrylic nails and the different enhancements for nails.

“The course takes about 400 hours, because we are doing theory as well,” commented the facilitator. “We are preparing them for CVQ and the TVET, such that they should be competent at the end of it to perform a basic manicure, a basic pedicure and the nail enhancement, and some theory on sanitation and bacteria. CVQ is a regionally recognised certificate that would allow them to work in any one of the region’s countries.”

While the rest of the students were on the assignment to do the 50 nails each, two of them, Akelia Huggins and Davincia Francis were doing manicuring, practising on each other.

Ms Newton explained that in the previous week the students had done manicuring, but those two were not in and hence the reason they were doing their assignment belatedly. Manicure, the facilitator explained, is the care of the nails, the hands, clipping and shaping, polishing, and massaging.

Two of the students interviewed, Javielle Phipps and Akelia Huggins, said that PEP had given them the opportunity to learn more in areas that they had always wanted to be part of.

“I came to do this course because I love to design nails,” said Javielle. “That is why I chose this class. I did it even when I was in high school, because I learnt from my aunt who does nails. The course is meeting my desired goals as it is giving me everything I need to know about nails and how to design them.”

Akelia who is originally from Basseterre but lives in Sandy Point, said that she chose to do the course because she loves makeup, hair and nails, and above all she loves to look beautiful. She is however learning to make other ladies look beautiful because she does not mind competition.

“The course is fulfilling my desired goals because I used to do the nails at a much more rudimental level, but Ms Newton teach me more about bacteria and how to manicure and pedicure and I learn about make up too as I used to put on any kind of makeup but the makeup beautician has shown me how to do it professionally,” explained Akelia.

On finishing the course Akelia expects to open her own business.

“Sandy Point has no salon or a place where one could have their nails done and I need to open my own place,” said a confident Akelia. “PEP programme is great. It is also going to teach me how to open my own business. It teaches other people who did not learn nothing, more things and it makes some of the girls get off the streets and get a good job.”

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