Over 10,000 register for skills training programme

Sherene Alexander displays one of her creations

The Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts’ (MCDCA) Community Education Programme (CEP) skills training programme is off to a bumper start with 10,858 registering for 341 courses being offered across Trinidad.  The Community Education Programme (CEP) provides skills training in a variety of marketable skills and targets unemployed and under-employed persons in the community.

The programme provides participants with the opportunity to train, retrain and retool themselves in skills for sustainable self-employment and entrepreneurship. Skills and competencies developed can then aid in the creation of home-based production of goods and services, diversification of income streams and employment generation. 

According to Minister Gadsby-Dolly, “We have seen a strong growth and demand for these courses based on online feedback and feedback from our district offices. Theseprogrammes are oversubscribed and we need now, more than ever the support of private/public entities to come forward to provide our citizenry with more opportunities for entrepreneurship, personal development and self-sufficiency that will have meaningful impact for our communities.”

Between 2017 and 2018, over 18000 persons have graduated from the programme with many over the years successfully venturing into home based businesses in cake baking, events management and jewellery making. One such success story is Sherlene Alexander who has her own clothing business “Ida made tt”. In sharing her inspirational story, Ms. Alexander said, “In 2018 while going through the newspapers I came upon an article advertising different classes offered by Community Development. I then noticed they were offering Ethnic Garment classes and I was very enthusiastic about learning. I had basic knowledge about sewing but while in the class Miss Judy Benecourt who was the teacher showed me a lot more to sewing than I had known.” During this course students were able to display their talents at cultural shows which allowed Ms. Alexander the opportunity to meet future customers who were interested in her work and wanted to see more of it. According to Ms. Alexander, “it was at this point I was then able to start my own sewing business entitled Ida Unique Designs. I would like to thank Community Development for offering these classes and also Miss Judy Benecourt for taking time to increase my knowledge about sewing. I would recommend that persons take full advantage of these courses so that they can also be success stories."

These testimonials speak to the real value of the skills training programme and the opportunities it provides for self-development, entrepreneurship and growth of the creative industry in particular.

 Classes began on Monday 15th April, 2019 in over 200 communities throughout Trinidad. Courses offered include Computer Literacy, Hairdressing, Bread, Cakes and Pastries, Jewellery Making, Tiling, Soap Making, Mixology, Landscaping, Events Management, Electrical, Small Scale Agriculture (Grow Box), Automotive Repairs and more. The programme is expected to conclude in July 2019 and persons will receive a certificate upon completion.

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