In keeping with the need to aid in the creation of an educated and well-versed workforce, Sterling Products Ltd. (SPL) on Thursday last graduated a new batch of staffers as part of its literacy program.
The simple graduation ceremony was held in the company’s board room and attended by various company executives, officials from the Ministry of Education and the Clerical Commercial Workers’ Union (CCWU).
Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Ramsay Ali during his address encouraged the graduates to pursue their studies. “We have success stories in terms of how some employees would have moved from the basic training to University level, and that is something we are very proud of…you are finished now, so at least you will have a basic knowledge of Math, English, writing etc. I want to encourage you, don’t let’s stop here,” he said.
Ali explained that over a number of years, the company noticed a gap between the qualifications of some employees and job requirements; hence, approximately seven years ago, the initiative was taken to start the program.
The CEO assured the graduates that SPL will provide support to those desirous of studying further. “We have one person who went through the system and went on to University…we supported him right through. So much so, he has just applied for a job as a senior person in the company and we are considering him.” Ali highlighted the courage it takes for some persons to accept the need to become literate and congratulated the graduates for taking the first step toward becoming literate.
Ann Anderson of CCWU highlighted the importance of a company willing to invest in education for its employees. She pointed out the philanthropy behind Sterling’s initiative, stating that the company ensures that employees are paid their full salaries while being given time off to study. Employees who are a part of the literacy program are even provided with free text books by the company.
Assistant Chief Education Officer, Leslyn Charles was pleased to see the graduates of the program being men. She congratulated them for taking a step toward learning. Charles then shared a brief lesson on literacy as she encouraged the graduates to further their studies.
Head of the Literacy Unit, Paul Williams, opined that literacy in a country is directly related to development as he congratulated Sterling Products for taking the initiative to promote literacy in its work environment.
Mark Forde, one of the six graduates, expressed a great desire to continue his studies. He said being a part of Sterling’s Literacy Program has positively impacted his life. “It has really motivated me to become a better person in life because I never got the opportunity to get an education,” he stated.
Colyn Sam posited that the literacy program has replaced him with what he was robbed of as a child growing up in a single parent home and is excited to continue learning.
Sterling’s Literacy Program follows guidelines as per the ‘Grass-Track’ initiative by the National Center for Education Resource Development (NCERD) and focuses on Reading and Math.
Upon entry into the company, employees’ levels of education are accessed based on information provided on their Job Applications. While SPL does not hire persons who have not completed Primary Education, recommendations are made for specific persons to undergo its literacy program. After this initial stage, the recommended persons are screened which helps the company to better determine a person’s education level and will ultimately allow company officials to make a final decision of referring persons to join its literacy class.