Six of 53 apprentices in various public agencies obtained full-time employment in recent months through government’s Registration, Apprenticeship, Training, Employment and Development (RATED) Programme, according to Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley.

From December through September, government spent $1,430,753 to cover the costs of the programme, Dr. Wheatley said on Oct. 31 in the House of Assembly.

Saturday marked the first anniversary of the initiative, which is designed to promote career development, provide temporary employment, and award apprenticeship opportunities.

All told, 721 people applied, according to Dr. Wheatley.

Of those, 53 were selected for apprenticeships of up to six months in government agencies including the Premier’s Office, the Ministry of Health and Social Development, the Department of Information and Public Relations, the Civil Registry and Passport Office, the VI Shipping Registry, the Immigration Department, and others.

In those agencies, the apprentices took on roles in the areas of administration, customer service, data entry and sanitation, the premier said.

“The short-term assignment allows for the necessary exposure to employment opportunities with a number of ministries and departments in the public service,” Dr. Wheatley added. “I encourage interested persons to apply to RATED, as this programme could be your opportunity to get your feet in the door, as it were, and prove yourself to that prospective employer.”

The programme is currently accepting applications. According to the premier, requests for apprentices are completed through temporary staff requests by ministries and departments, and applicants are screened for “job readiness.”

The programme was also supposed to place applicants in positions in the private sector, but Dr. Wheatley didn’t provide an update on this prong or say if it succeeded.