PEP opens new career doors for young Kittitians and Nevisians

Veteran Kittitian pharmacist Ms Mabel Morton (right) with PEP interns Kajidah Warner (centre) and John Morton

Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 14th 2013-Gifted and ambitious 18-year-old Kajidah Warner of Ponds Estate, Newtown, was hoping to work at a financial institution after having attended the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) where she did Office Administration and Management Studies.

However, when reality struck, she found out that as a fresh graduate of the Federation’s premier educational institution getting a job was not as easy as she or any of her college mates had envisioned. She did what other like-minded Kittitian and Nevisian youths are doing: she visited the People Employment Programme (PEP) office at Dorset in Basseterre.

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Mandated to find training and employment opportunities for the Federation’s youth, officials at the PEP office swung into action to try to place Kajidah Warner at a suitable establishment where she could realise her dreams. That they did and since June this year, the young lady is an intern, not with a financial institution but at a pharmacy in Basseterre’s central district.

“I was placed here by the PEP in June,” said Kajidah Warner, speaking from behind the counter at First Choice Pharmacy at the Amory Mall on Cayon Street. “I have learnt a lot, the different types of medicines and what they are used for; how to read a doctor’s prescription and the handwriting, and the different types of codes they use to describe medication.

“Seeing that I am in this field right now, it kind of gives me a thought about it, so if I have a thought about it then I probably have to study some extra science subjects in order to become this, but for now it is fluctuating. If the chance is there, I will take it. When I did not get banking, I initially thought it was a mistake to come here, but I now realise it might have been opening new career doors for me.”

Before her at the pharmacy was 19-year-old John Morton of St. Peters, who studied electricity at the Advanced Vocational Educational Centre (AVEC). Through the PEP connection, he too was attached to the pharmacy, and like Warner, he is saying that it has given him a new perspective to life. He now wishes to study more science subjects so as to fully qualify either as a technician or even a pharmacist.

The two agree that the best thing that happened to them was not their near wildcard attachment to First Choice Pharmacy, but rather the exposure to the extensive knowledge of the pharmacy industry held by veteran pharmacist, Ms Mabel Morton, owner of the pharmacy, and one who is willing to share it with the Federation’s youth.

With over thirty years experience, the holder of an associate degree in Applied Science in Pharmacy from the Barbados Community College, Ms Mabel Morton is well known in the Federation, having worked at two major hospitals and nearly all the health centres in St. Kitts, before she joined the now closed City Drug Store where she worked both in St. Kitts and Nevis.

“This pharmacy was established last year in November just after I finished with the City Drug Store in September,” said Ms Morton. “I took on the two PEP interns because people must always learn from what other people have considering if I am to go with this knowledge it is not really nice at all.

“You are supposed to teach others so that others can have experience and then they would grasp up what you have and then they might be inspired to do what you have done and even do it better than you, and that is what life is all about; imparting knowledge so that knowledge could go on and on and make this world a better place for everybody.”

She is thankful to have been offered the opportunity by the People Employment Programme (PEP) to host the two interns, because apart from the knowledge they are getting from her, she is able to buy more stock for the pharmacy as PEP is taking care of the wages for the interns.

She is even more inspired by the positive work attitudes the two PEP interns have so far exuded since their attachment to First Choice Pharmacy.

“The attachment has assisted them greatly because they have shown enthusiasm since they came here,” said Ms Morton. “They are learning the names of the drugs, they are learning to read prescriptions, they are learning to use the cash register, they are learning everything, and they are learning how to interact with people, which is very good.

“When you come to them they will tell you if the particular medicine you need is there, they will go to the shelf to get it out, they will be able to tell you the cost, but they cannot issue without my supervision.”

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