THE National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) has been given a major boost, thanks to the support of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has announced the extension of grant financing from the ALBA Bank to the Government of Saint Lucia in the amount of US$10 million (EC$27 million) over two years.
“Since the inception of NICE, 4847 individuals have benefitted from employment initiatives,” Dr. Anthony said. “Currently, about 1118 persons are employed by NICE. Of that number, 104 farmers are now benefitting from the Farm Labour Support Programme. A total of 1412 persons have benefitted from apprenticeships and training programmes. These include crop production, small engine boat maintenance, multimedia production, customer service office administration and beauty therapy.”
The Agreement with the ALBA Bank states that the grant is provided to “create job opportunities and highlight the capabilities of the unemployed to ensure sustainable or full-time employment in an environment that maximizes socio-economic rewards.”
With this additional financing, the Government of Saint Lucia will invest a further $3 million in training for employment in the cruise sector; increase support for small firms to expand employment opportunities; and expand on the number of jobs available under NICE.
NICE was officially launched in June 2012. Since its launch, nearly 5,000 Saint Lucians have benefitted from this employment creation initiative