Madam Speaker, the Government of National Unity is mindful that there exists in the national community persons who, for varied reasons, experience periods of unemployment and/or underemployment, and therefore have difficulty providing for the needs of their families and meeting their regular expenses.
These persons rely on the Government’s social welfare programmes and Non-Governmental Organisations to meet their needs. The resources for which are limited and add to the burden on the public purse. Many of these individuals are able to work, and would prefer to work, but are unable to secure meaningful and steady employment for varying reasons.
Madam Speaker, the Government of National Unity is also mindful that there are many instances in the public and private sectors where there is a need for workers on a temporary basis to assist with special projects or to bridge short-term gaps. Additionally, the private sector may have vacant positions but may have difficulty finding persons with sufficient work experience and training among the local population. There are, therefore, potential opportunities for persons who are willing to work to be able to obtain employment if the barriers such as training and experience, and the cost of employing a trainee or apprentice are mitigated.
In this regard, Madam Speaker, the Government deemed it prudent to introduce a programme to provide temporary employment for individuals who may need it, and to create pathways for individuals to acquire training and experience to improve their employment situation, suitability for employment and marketability in the job market.
Madam Speaker, the Registration Apprenticeship Training Employment and Development (RATED) Programme seeks to provide a pathway for persons who are unemployed or who are underemployed to obtain opportunities through short term employment, apprenticeship and/or training education and development. This programme empowers participants, reduces the burden on the public purse and, reduces the instances of social ills that result from persons not being gainfully employed or engaged in work and training opportunities.
- The pathways are:
- Temporary employment for short periods providing services in Government Departments where there is a need for additional labour;
- Apprenticeship, on stipend, with public and private sector organisations that agree to partner with the Government in the programme; and
- Training, education and skills development through courses and programmes offered by the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) and other training institutions.
Madam Speaker, since the approval of this project on 26 November 2022, a total of four hundred and eighteen (418) persons have registered with the RATED Programme.
Twelve (12) applicants did not qualify.
Madame Speaker, a total of seventy-six (76) persons have been placed since the inception of the programme which began in December 2022. The breakdown of those placements Madame Speaker are as follows:
Fifty-nine (59) persons have received temporary assignments in the area of landscaping/bush cutting
Six (6) persons have received temporary assignments in administration
Five (5) persons have received temporary assignments in construction
Five (5) persons have received temporary assignments in trucking
One (1) person has received a temporary assignment in sanitation.
Madam Speaker, applicants in the various pathways are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. Employers requesting apprentices will also be served on a first-come-first-served basis. The purpose of the rotation methodology and first-come-first-served service is to guard against favouritism and to ensure fairness in the access to the opportunities of the programme.
The Premier’s Office continues to prepare listings for participants under the various pathways and employers based on the order of application, and will conduct assignments accordingly. When the list is exhausted, selection will continue from the top of the list, ensuring rotation.
I would like to take this opportunity to once again encourage members of the public who are interested in accessing the opportunities offered by the RATED Programme, to register for the programme.
I must emphasise that this programme covers a very wide range of job types; not just those mentioned above. The programme applies to other areas where there is a need for personnel such as in office work, data entry, digitizing records, plumbing and electrical work and so forth.
Madame Speak, the Government is partnering with the HLSCC to implement training opportunities for the participants. I am pleased to announce that the first training course in the area of electrical work is ready to commence in partnership with the HLSCC. I encourage persons that are interested in learning the trade of an electrician to call the Premier’s Office and express your interest so that you can be registered to participate in the upcoming training programme, as well as to access more information.
It is important for prospective employers to tell the Government what their needs are and for job seekers to tell us what kinds of jobs they want and what kind of support they need to access these jobs, so that this information can be taken into consideration as we continue to grow the programme, and to implement further phases.
Madam Speaker, the Premier’s Office is continuing to work on operationalizing all the elements of the RATED Programme. This includes working with our partners to develop the training and development component, and the apprenticeship component.
I will provide further progress updates on the RATED Programme as we continue forward.
I thank you.