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STARSS in their Eyes

DER's Employment Development Outreach Coordinator Jean Solomon and DCFS Senior Social Worker Barbara Gee welcome a STARSS participant.

Twenty-one Support Towards Autonomy Retraining and Self Sufficiency (STARSS) programme participants sought work by attending a public-private sector mini-job fair recently.

The 18 women and three men had already completed their six week training period. "Two job fairs are held for them each year, enabling participants to actively seek employment," said Programme Coordinator Cassandra Parchment.

Developed and facilitated by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), STARSS aims to empower job-seekers by furthering their skills and thus their employability. Five training sessions are conducted annually, with the latest being the third for 2011.

Jobs and the suitability of trainees for particular jobs are assessed in conjunction with the Department of Employment Relations (DER) which maintains a register of unemployed persons and local employment opportunities.

Ms. Parchment explained that the recent job fair - held in space donated by the Mirco Centre - partnered seven local employers with the DER, in a joint effort to match participants with work openings. Jobs on offer were from the tourism sector, customer service, retail marketing and office administration.

Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Mike Adam, MBE, JP, lauded the teamwork and the programme.

"This service is important," he said. "It prepares potential job seekers for available jobs in the workforce. And it is a win-win initiative, for STARSS also offers a helping hand to persons who are taking the initiative to better themselves."

Applauding her staff's consistent efforts to provide the service, DCFS Deputy Director Alicia 'Jen' Dixon emphasised that participants train to make themselves more employable. Topics covered include résumé writing, enhancing communication and working skills, self-esteem building and work ethics.

DCFS staff members Barbara Gee, Cindy Dilbert, Donnette Morris-Seymour and Tynisa Forsythe assisted participants at the fair and helped set it up.

To interview the trainees for employment, STARSS teamed up with employers, Lindsey Gordon and Michelle Gibbon of Stepping Stones; Deborah Beck (Tortuga Rum); Ahisha Bodden (Kirk Supermarket and Kirk Marine); Marie Powell and Iranna Baligar (C.L. Flowers), Arlene Belmonte of Tropicana Tours and Cindy Abrahams and Barbie Khan (Reef Resort) and the DER's Employment Development Outreach Coordinator Jean Solomon.

(GIS)

For further information contact: Bina Mani