The People Employment Program (PEP) is a Government initiative designed to create empowerment opportunities for unemployed nationals. Funded by the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) and implemented under the National Skills Training Programme, the PEP provides training that would build necessary skills for the new service economy, internship opportunities and stipends. While focus has been placed on developing vocational skills, the trainees have also received social and life skills and entrepreneurship training. Areas of training include building trades, cosmetology, hospitality, agriculture, computer graphics, early childhood development, personal development and money management.
The PEP comprises six projects that target unemployed nationals with varying interests as follows:
1. EQuIP (Engaging Qualified Interns Project) is a job placement initiative which seeks to develop the skill sets of unemployed, academically qualified individuals through a period of internship with established private and public sectors ventures.
2. NIIP (National Infrastructure Improvement Project) provides employment opportunities for participants involved in the enhancement of the national infrastructure thereby stimulating economic development.
3. STED (Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development) provides classroom and practical training by experienced personnel in order to enhance the entrepreneurial and/or technical skills of participants in several areas.
4. WISE (Women in Small Enterprise) empowers women in small enterprises through the provision of micro-finance grant support of up to EC$2500 and management training.
5. ATM (Agri-Enterprise Training and Management) promotes local agricultural production, thereby increasing participants’ income-earning capacity and reducing the nation’s dependence on imported products.
6. WICT (Women in Construction Trades) increases employment opportunities for women by developing the skills required to engage in meaningful income-earning activities traditionally inaccessible to them due to their primary roles as caregivers.
Applications are categorized according to the area chosen by the applicant (e.g. agriculture) then individuals are placed in the appropriate project (e.g. ATM) for training. After a period of training, once participants demonstrate a certain level of competence, they are afforded a job-attachment opportunity. Since the simultaneous launch of the PEP in St. Kitts and Nevis on December 21, 2012, more than 3,500 applicants have already been placed on job attachment with over 600 employers who facilitate the internship process and benefit from the additional human resources. By offering training, employment opportunities and financial resources, the PEP has increased the earning capacity and spending power of targeted participants, which, in turn, has stimulated commercial activity.
All prospective participants (trainees and employers) may apply online at www.sknpep.com or collect forms from the PEP offices located on the ground floor of the David Rawlins Building in Dorset Village, Basseterre, and upstairs Morton Building on Main Street, Charlestown. The offices may also be contacted via telephone at 466-0143 /466-7556 and 469 1310/662 1472 for more information.