By Carlena Knight
Dozens of locals displaced by the Covid pandemic have benefitted from an employability and entrepreneurial training programme.
The free online 10-week Covid-19 relief initiative was put on by the Labour Department in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, World Food Programme, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, the UWI Open Campus, the National Training Agency and the Department of Social Policy and Research and Planning.
Participants, who also included persons from the British Virgin Islands, attended a brief closing ceremony on Tuesday.
One of the students, Antiguan Sheryl Joseph, spoke at the ceremony explaining just how impactful the programme had been for her.
Joseph, who is the owner of a small business, revealed that she had initially been hesitant about signing up.
“I was hesitating, I was at a crossroads on whether it was the right time to become an entrepreneur but a close friend of mine encouraged me to register for the training and I have not regretted the decision,” she said.
“I learnt a lot during the course on topics and also learnt about the importance of time management and customer satisfaction.
“It opened my eyes in ways I didn’t think possible and at the end of the course when I realised I had the ability to open my own business I was excited and did just that,” Joseph added.
Female heads of single parent households, persons who are currently receiving a social benefit, displaced hospitality and aviation workers, persons aged 18-35, unemployed people over 55, persons unemployed for at least three months, and persons with disabilities were among the select few to be a part of the programme.
It was an historic event as this is the first time that these United Nations agencies have collaborated with Antigua and Barbuda to execute such a scheme.
An official graduation ceremony where graduands will receive their certificates will take place at a later date.