PRESS RELEASE – The Government of Saint Lucia has announced a $3-million “Cruise Sector Training and Employment Programme” to provide access to funding for approximately 550 young Saint Lucians seeking employment in the cruise sector.
This programme is an expansion of a $400,000 pilot version which was introduced under the NICE Programme in the last fiscal year.
Over the past year, approximately 229 unemployed Saint Lucians got job offers, 35 percent of which, benefited from the pilot financing facility set up with the Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB). As such, the Government of Saint Lucia has partnered with a training institute, a cruise line and the SLDB, to expand the facility and provide more opportunities to unemployed youth. This year, three million dollars will be obtained from the National Insurance Corporation for on-lending to prospective employees through the SLDB.
In his 2014/2015 budget statement, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony announced,
“Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that the many cruise ships that we see berthing at our ports each week employ thousands with well-paying jobs. However, the problem has always been with the inability of Saint Lucians to access these jobs because of the costs associated with meeting the requisite qualifications and other requirements,” he said.
“We know all too well the unsuccessful, costly attempts made by government in the past to provide support to local candidates to access these jobs. However, through NICE, the Government of Saint Lucia launched a pilot programme valued at $400,000 during the past fiscal period to assist unemployed youth between the ages 19 and 35 years to access this employment.
“Unlike other similar initiatives in the past, this pilot programme has been carefully designed in conjunction with a training institution, a cruise line and the Saint Lucia Development Bank. The programme is specifically targeted for non-utility job opportunities within the Cruise Sector. With these types of jobs, Mr. Speaker, successful candidates can earn as much as, and in some cases, in excess of US$3,000 per month,” Anthony explained.
Mindful of the unfortunate tradition of delinquency in servicing education and training loans, the government will introduce stringent repayment conditions to ensure that these loans are repaid within a six-month period, to allow for the continuation of the programme.
More financing agencies have expressed interest in developing similar facilities. Information on this opportunity will be made public once the details have been finalised.