(SKNIS): Speaking at the National Consultation on the Economy, Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, stated that there was a need to revamp both the People Employment Programme (PEP) and Recognising Everyone’s Ability to Climb Higher (REACH) programmes to make them sustainable.
Prime Minister Harris said that the PEP programme has cost the government $200 million thus far and therefore had to be revamped.
“The new dispensation will be a STEP Up from PEP,” said the Prime Minister, referring to the Skills Training and Empowerment Programme. “This will result in genuine training for our people.”
The Prime Minister said that the training from the programme will be market driven to supply the skills that the economy requires, including areas of hospitality, culinary arts, and other technical skills such as air-conditioning, steel bending, joinery, craft making and others.
He added that for this reason the REACH programme was restructured and repositioned into the Supporting the Advancement of Further Education (SAFE) programme.
“This SAFE programme is a much more progressive and fiscally responsible approach to financing education and training, where only those in need would receive a subsidy from the public purse.”
He stated this programme will provide funding to persons on a “clearly defined” needs basis. It will be implemented for those at both sixth form colleges in the Federation.
Prime Minister Harris took the opportunity to thank the practitioners and officials of the Ministry of Education, who under the guidance of the Minister of Education, Honourable Shawn Richards, came back with a better thought through programme to provide better support for students in both learning institutions.