Apart from the line training being offered to trainees in the various areas, all of them are expected to study an Entrepreneurial Development module, which will give them knowledge to run the financial aspect of a business, should they opt to set up their own businesses.
“We are making them more marketable,” explained Mrs Christopher. “The whole idea of bringing in all of these different components to the programme is to train them in a holistic way. They are going to have the qualifications for the skill that they are doing, but additional to that they are also going to have the business development aspect of the programme.”
According to Mrs Christopher, once the trainees are through with the training being offered, they can either choose to be employed or choose to do their own business and “so we are preparing them by putting in those components so that when they leave the programme they are on their way to doing something for themselves.”
PEP trainees doing the Cosmetology Programme at six sites on St. Kitts have a former Eastern Caribbean Central Bank employee, Ms Dawn Mills, as a facilitator for the Entrepreneurial Development module. She studied Finance at the Howard University in Washington DC.
“When PEP first started I facilitated a financial literacy and personal development module which took into consideration things like discipline, goal setting, planning, stuff like team work, and different aspects,” said Ms Mills.
“Now that we are into Phase II of PEP, we have all the Cosmetology and Hospitality students as well, who have to do Entrepreneurial Development and my involvement now is that I am a facilitator for that particular module, and I am dealing with all the cosmetology trainees. I go to the different site on different days.”
Ms Mills observed that over the years it has been realised that in the Caribbean entrepreneurship was not necessarily something that was inculcated or taught, neither in school or formally or even informally, because people come from a more traditional setting where they would go school, get their subjects, and finally get employed.
“While they are getting their cosmetology training more than likely many of them would want to set up their own little businesses and so we are giving them the entrepreneurship training so that they will be more effective in setting up their businesses, making them viable concerns,” observed Ms Mills. “We are giving them the elements, we are giving them the basics in this particular module that will help them to set up and run business ventures.”
The Entrepreneurial Development module being offered to PEP trainees will assist them achieve the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) according to Ms Mills, as it is one of the modules they have to do to get certified.
“The testing phase is by assessment,” noted Ms Mills. “There are TVET assessors who will come in once the students have alerted to me, ‘okay we are comfortable with this particular element that we have been going through, we are ready to be assessed’, I will relay that to the PEP management.”
There are six training sites for the Cosmetology Programme. Two are situated at the Newtown Community Centre, and one each at the Gardens, Greenlands, Basseterre (Rosemary Lane) and in St. Pauls.
Facilitator at the Greenlands site is Ms Sonia Douglas, who studied at in New York and North Carolina in the USA before she returned home and set up her own business. She has been based at the Greenlands location for close to ten years now. She has experience in the area of training as she has been training at the National Youth Skills.
Her PEP cosmetology class started on May 13, with ten trainees. It is her hope that when they leave, the will have gained as much as possible as she is giving them all they require to be certified for the CVQ, and welcomes the Entrepreneurial Development module which she believes will be of immense benefit should they opt to start their own businesses.