UNDER the former government, the On the Job Training (OJT) scheme was allegedly plagued by “ghosts” whose exorcism under this Government had resulted in a temporary pause in the programme, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus told Newsday yesterday. She was speaking at her ministry in Tower C of the Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, after a function to launch the ministry’s new website.
While the phenomenon of ghosts or non-existent persons for whom wages/stipends are paid illegally had been linked to work schemes such as the Unemployment Relief Programme, the minister disclosed its alleged existence in the OJT, a programme by which the Government subsidises the cost of a youngster’s first 24 months of employment in the State sector (100 per cent subsidy) or private sector (60 per cent subsidy.)
Baptiste-Primus said many people think the OJT had shut down, but it is in fact now back up and running after the elimination of ghosts so that stipends can be paid to genuine employees. “We were reconfiguring the programme because we discovered a lot of ghosts under the last administration. We would have cleaned up the programme and all those ghost positions can now be diverted to real young people who require experience.”
She said the OJT welcomes new applicants as its capacity is 6,000 people, and at present it has only 4,000 people enrolled. The OJT scheme allocates people to job placements according to their career pursuit and geographical area, with a scale of stipends according to their academic qualification level (ranging from CXC to post-graduate degree.)
Saying some employers are cautious of hiring inexperienced staff, Baptiste-Primus said organisations get a subsidised trial-run of these youngsters. “The whole idea is you go into the programme for 24 months and it might lead to permanent employment.”