The new Apprenticeship Scheme approved in March this year will be officially launched at the Careers Fair during the opening of the Fair at 10 am on Wednesday the 9 October 2013.  This Scheme makes provision for people of differing ages to access work based training and academic studies.  The scheme aims to provide purposeful and interesting training and study programmes to give people an opportunity to develop in their chosen field and improve their employability.

The new Apprenticeship Scheme replaces the Youth Training Scheme which mainly focused on developing practical skills in the work place.  In addition to the development of practical skills, the new Apprenticeship Scheme aims to incorporate opportunities to achieve accreditation.

The scheme makes provision for four bands, in which successful candidates can select the level of training and qualifications they require.  Band 4 requires higher level of assessed training in the workplace and a higher level of qualifications opposed to a lower level in Band 1.

There have been approximately 35 individuals who have made applications for apprenticeships, 23 have been placed within construction, automotive, nursing and clerical fields whilst studying towards their relevant qualifications which includes, Vocationally Related Qualifications (VRQ’s), National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s) and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE’s).  

On completion of the Apprenticeship scheme, those successful receive certificates, assessment of work reports, accredited qualifications and a bonus.

For those interested in taking part in the apprenticeship scheme contact Cynthia Bennett, Work Development Coordinator on Tel: 2607 or Email: development@education.gov.sh  or attend the Careers Fair on the 9 October to learn more through the scheduled Apprenticeship presentation.

SHG

24 September 2013

Connect Saint Helena are pleased to advise the lifting of the boil water notice in the Redhill treatment area.  On 12 June 2013 Connect St Helena issued a press release indicating that because of the problems experienced in supplying water to the Redhill Distribution area, the water quality could not be guaranteed and advised customers as a precautionary measure to boil water needed for domestic purposes.

Across the island Connect Saint Helena has now resumed a ‘business as usual’ status and there are no restrictions currently in place.

On behalf of Connect Saint Helena Ltd

24 September 2013

 

The Careers Fair 2013 is to be held at Prince Andrew School on 9 October from 10am to 5pm.

A Careers Fair was held last year and was the first in 6 years.  Due to the emphasis of private sector development & recruitment, it was evaluated that the Careers Fair should be held more frequently, encouraging promotion and employment within businesses, as well as promoting career progression.

Working closely with private and public sector employers, the Adult & Vocational Education Service (AVES) intends the Fair to provide information from a varied selection of organisations, on what specific jobs entail and skills and qualifications needed to pursue a chosen career.

Attending this year’s event include representatives from Environment and Natural Resources, Police, Education and Employment, Solomon and Company, Enterprise St Helena and Basil Read.  There will be a range of activities, some more hands on than others displaying specialist equipment which is used in selected businesses and sections within St Helena Government.        

Cynthia Bennett, Work Development Coordinator commented:  

“The Careers Fair is designed for everyone, people who seek personal development, students who have finished their academic education and those wishing a change in their career.  The fair is there to inspire individuals and to highlight that learning never stops.”

Along with displays in various stalls, presentations will also be held in a separate space to allow more detailed and one to one discussions with organisations.

A Career Week is anticipated in the week leading up to the fair, to allow individuals to get a firsthand look of how businesses function and operate and to have an insight into the careers within these businesses, enabling them to establish a career path which they would like to pursue. A schedule for this will be published shortly.

Private and Public Organisations who are interested in setting up a stall, presentation or participating in careers week should contact Cynthia Bennett on Tel: 2607 or Email: development@education.gov.sh  no later than the 1 October 2013.

SHG

24 September 2013 

 

 

St Helena is soon to introduce the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA). This web based system will improve efficiency and speed in the acceptance and clearance of cargo, tax and other paper transactions.  As well as improving and developing Government and statistical information; vital for accurate planning and budgeting.

To install and operate the new system, Government Officers, Jeremy Roberts, Head of Corporate IT and Juliette O’Dean, Customs Administrative Officer recently underwent a programme of training in Geneva.

Delivered by one of the key developers of the ASYCUDA system, Fabian Joseph, the training programme taught Jeremy and Juliette how to use the system and how to then pass their skills on to train colleagues on St Helena. Training was delivered in a dual classroom environment incorporating both Customs and IT systems simultaneously.

As Head of IT Jeremy’s training focused on the technical elements of the ASYCUDA system and with the help of his team at IT he will be supporting the system and maintaining the management of the project here on St Helena. During the duration of the project professional support will also be given from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Jeremy explained:

“The introduction of the ASYCUDA system to St Helena will allow Customs and Revenue to become more efficient and drive innovation across the whole of the Island. However we must recognise that once it gets rolled out it’s not going to be an instant fix to everything. We are therefore fortunate to have the professional support from our trainer in Geneva who helped to develop the system; any changes made to the software will also be filtered through to St Helena if felt it would work with our system.”

Juliette’s role is a more functional one in that she will manage the day to day operation of the system, trouble shooting and dealing with staff, government and public enquiries.  In moving forward Juliette’s first task is to get the system up and running within the Customs and Revenue section and train Customs and Revenue staff to use the system. Next month IT will deliver a live trial version of the system which will allow Juliette to train her staff over the next three months. During this time IT will continue to build the infrastructure needed to operate the system before it is rolled out to the public. Following staff training the Traders and Brokers will then be trained

It is expected that the system will be rolled out within the next six months.

Juliette explained the benefits of the ASYCUDA system:

“Having the ASYCUDA system on St Helena will move us away from a paper based system to an electronic one. This will then enable Customs and Revenue operations to use more streamlined procedures which will not only benefit Customs and Revenue, but the public as well.”

With the new system Customs entries will need to be electronically submitted through ASYCUDA by the importer themselves.

Juliette continued:

“Everyone will be able to access ASYCUDA via the internet, so customers can pre-clear their goods before collecting from Customs, making the process quicker and more efficient.”

Jeremy added:

“The system will enable Customs and Revenue procedures to become more bearable. We recognise that it will take time for merchants and brokers to get used to the new procedures and we are not expecting people to know everything within the first two months. However people will need to learn these new procedures as eventually the system will be expanded to the airport site and Rupert’s.

“This is just the first stepping stone which means that in the near future further personnel will need to undergo overseas training or a trainer from the UN will need to visit the Island in order for the system to grow and develop.”

SHG would like to thank Peter Henderson, Director General of HM Customs and Revenue who recommended introducing the system to St Helena, staff at HM Customs for their hard work, DfID for their financial assistance, the UNCTAD team in Geneva and Jeremy and Juliette for undertaking the training to enable the project to be delivered

Notes to Editors:

The ASYCUDA system was funded by the Department for International Development.

The system to be used on St Helena is the most up to date version of the software and was designed by a dedicated team from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

The system can be found in over 100 jurisdictions worldwide but this is the first time for it to be introduced on an Island as remote as St Helena. (NB Montserrat is smaller than St Helena and has the system).

SHG

23 September 2013

 

 

SHG is preparing the documentation for Basil Read to redevelop the Horse Point landfill site. This is an important component of the Airport Project. The redevelopment will reduce the bird strike risk to aircraft by preventing the exposure of organic waste, which is a food source for birds.  This will also extend the life of the site.

This contract has been agreed under the Single-Sourcing (Basil Read) arrangement, the basis of which is:

  • There should be no impact on delivery of the Airport Project, or additional risk
  • Only large or specialist projects should be considered
    • Projects which deliver benefits to the airport project will be prioritised

Additionally, and in order for the airport to meet certification requirements and be allowed to operate, any airport construction works must meet stringent safety and quality assurance standards. Under the Airport Project, Basil Read is already required to operate to BS EN ISO 9001 (or 9002 as appropriate) international construction standards.

Given the urgency of the timescales and certification issues linked to the airport the regulations were waived in relation to this project. However all future projects using Basil Read through a Single-Source arrangement must firstly seek approval from the SHG Procurement Board, in line with the Procurement Regulations. The project has been fully endorsed and approved by DfID.

As the certification process is likely to start at the end of this year, there is also a tight deadline for completion of the redevelopment of the landfill site. Basil Read has the technical expertise, the economies of scale, the plant, a proven supply chain and the necessary internationally recognised quality standards to undertake the complexities of this large scale project. 

The landfill site redevelopment, under the solid waste management strategy, includes a waste reception building, the excavation of waste cells, the installation of specialist bird netting to cover waste cells, a civic amenity re-cycling facility, methods of preventing groundwater contamination, means for monitoring landfill gas, surface water drainage systems, and improvements to the internal roads to ensure all weather access. In addition, Basil Read are able to use spoil from their construction sites to restore the areas of the landfill site that are currently used for waste disposal, as well as areas that are blighted by surface litter.

The Environmental Management Division has been working with SLR Consulting, a specialist waste management and civil engineering company (who were involved in the development of the Solid Waste Management Strategy) for technical support, design and contract cost assurance.

Horse Point landfill will continue to operate throughout the redevelopment works to ensure that there is no disruption to the current solid waste collection and disposal service however public access may be restricted and this will be communicated accordingly.

The Project Manager for the Solid Waste Management Project is Mike Durnford, EMD’s Manager of Environmental Risk (Designate). The Project Manager for the construction phase is Bill Scanes. Bill was appointed through an open process of Expressions of Interest, Formal Application, Evaluation and Selection.  He has a wealth of knowledge and experience amassed from various projects around the world including the UK, Falkland Islands, South Africa, Libya and the Philippines. Notably Bill was employed as the Chief Engineer on St Helena by SHG between 2004 and 2006.

SHG

20 September 2013

 This press release outlines a high profile case where the previous SHG procurement process failed, resulting in a ‘write off’ of the acquired asset. The procurement in question relates to the Asphalt Plant which has been the subject of much concern in the recent past. Losing money through mistakes is painful but in the round, lessons have been learnt and SHG’s approach to procurement has improved.

New Procurement Regulations developed with the help of TC funding have been approved by the Governor and came into effect on 12 July 2013. These will ensure appropriate measures to mitigate the risks associated with procurement, thus minimising any such waste of resources in the future. The Plant arrived on Island in April 2011 at a total landed cost of £116,119 and in June 2011, engineers from the manufacturer arrived to assemble the Plant and make it ready for use. However, due to vital missing parts, and serious safety issues associated with the different component parts, the engineers were unable to commission the Plant. These issues were raised with the supplier and some of the costs were recovered (around £11,000), with SHG retaining ownership of the Plant. In a report to the Public Accounts Committee in January 2012, the then Director of Infrastructure and Utilities stated that: “the risk of danger to operatives still remains.” And that “concerns about the safe operation of the plant still remain and any sale of the whole plant would have to be to someone who had the knowledge and capability to make it safe before operating the plant.”

Regrettably therefore, SHG has concluded that the Asphalt Plant is not fit for purpose or safe and that it will not be cost effective to take any remedial action when there is no guarantee that the Plant can be made operable or safe. Whilst suggestions have been made as to possible sale of the Plant, it would be irresponsible of SHG to pass on any liability to a third party. Clearly all of this results in a significant loss of public funds emanating from inefficient procurement procedures and poor judgement on the part of officers (no longer with SHG) who failed to undertake the necessary checks before procuring the Plant. However, with the introduction of new Procurement Regulations, SHG now have more robust processes and procedures for officers to follow which should prevent future occurrences of this nature.

The main features of the new procurement system are:

 A major shift in focus from the value of the procurement to the risk associated with that procurement

 Credit checking facilities which must be used for all international suppliers

 More scrutiny of the upfront procurement processes where medium and high risk procurements must be authorised by the new Procurement Board  The Procurement Board will oversee contract specifications to ensure fitness for purpose

 No payment can be made up front, unless specifically authorised by the Financial Secretary

 Clear guidance on the advertising and tender processes, ensuring fair and transparent procurement

 Medium to high risk procurements will be carried out by procurement services, who have the professional expertise and who will exercise due diligence

 Prior to delivery to St Helena, there will be scrutiny by a relevant qualified professional to ensure goods and services for delivery are in accordance with the agreed specification and are fit for purpose

 More focus on these controls prior to the commencement of the procurement process. Compliance with these new Procurement Regulations is compulsory, regardless of the size or timing of a project. If steps are waived or modified, supporting evidence must be provided to the Procurement Board.

SHG will now publish all waivers from the new Regulations. SHG apologises to the public for this failed procurement and significant loss of public funds, and in so doing, assures the public that systems and processes are now in place to prevent this happening again.

SHG

20 September 2013

The public is advised that with effect from Monday 14 October 2013 the road between the Briars and Gordons Post will be closed for 10 weeks.

Approval to close the road on a full time basis (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) has been given by the Highways Authority in order for major road maintenance work to take place during this period.

The closure will cause significant disruption to the Island during this time as only Emergency Services will be permitted through access. Residents in the immediate area of the road closure will still have continuous access to their properties and have been informed of the process.

The road will reopen on 20 December 2013 but pending weather conditions and progress the road may close again on 6 January 2014 for a further four weeks. Details regarding this potential closure will issue nearer the time.

The Roads Section apologises for the disruption during this initial closure but will keep the public informed with frequent progress updates.

Notes to Editors:
Statistics for the section of work between the Briars and Hutts Gate:

Length of Closure: 2.3km (aprox. 1.5miles)
Length of Diversion (Hutts Gate to The Briars): 11.8km (aprox 7.4miles)
Additional distance to travel (Hutts Gate and The Canister): 4.2km (aprox 4.7miles)

During the scheme intended works will deliver approximately:

• 11,500m2 of patching and resurfacing
• 1.1km of slipper drain
• 100m of wall to construct
• 200m of wall to repair
• 10 Manholes/Underland Drains
• 75m of Safety Rails to repair or replace

The Roads Section will also be coordinating with Connect Saint Helena in supporting work to improve the water supply pipelines.

SHG
18 September 2013

Good afternoon,

Executive Council met today Tuesday 17 September to consider one item on the open agenda. There were two members of the public in the gallery.

Executive Council was asked to approve the following appointments to the Electronic Communications Consultative Committee (ECCC) in accordance with Clause 11 of the Telecommunications Licence and the TV Re-broadcasting Licence.

These appointments are:

Chairman: Financial Secretary
Member: Solicitor General
Secretary: Government Economist

The Licensee ‘Sure’ will appoint two members.

This committee is a technical committee to report on Sure’s compliance with the terms of, and conditions of these licences.

Executive Council agreed to the appointments as it is important that Sure’s compliance with the licences is monitored.

A question was asked as to how members of the public might raise any concerns with the committee about the services provided by Sure. At present there is no formal process and the undertaking was given that this will be discussed at the first meeting of the ECCC.

Following this item of business the remainder of the meeting was closed to the public.
Mr Paul McGinnety gave an update on the restructuring of the Environmental and Natural Resources Directorate. This was very informative and Executive Councillors were made aware of the progress in restructuring.

It was noted that further contracts will be going out to tender in the private sector in the near future.

ExCo
17 September 2013

Open to the Public from 9.30am

Executive Council will meet on Tuesday 17 September 2013 in the Council Chamber. 

Commencing at 9.30am, the meeting will be open to the public for the first agenda item; Appointment of Electronic Communications Consultative Committee (ECCC), under the Tele-communications and TV rebroadcasting licence. 

Executive Council Members are: Lawson Henry, Ian Rummery and Wilson Duncan in Cyril George’s absence.  Councillor Leslie Baldwin will also serve on Executive Council in the absence of Councillor Christine Scipio O’Dean who is currently off Island on leave.   

SHG

16 September 2013

 

From 6-9th September, Prince Andrew School welcomed author, Niall Griffiths, to lead workshops on creative writing. Niall worked with students from Years 7 to 13. In his workshops Niall focussed on the power of the imagination to create ideas from everyday objects and situations. He also encouraged students to think carefully about the language they use to express these ideas in their writing.

Niall griffiths & Year 11

Year 8 student, Chloe Midwinter, commented: “ I learned how to use more complex similes and metaphors in my writing. Working with Niall was inspirational!”

“It was fun!” was how Andreas Caesar-Crowie, from Year 7, summed up the workshop that he attended.

Headteacher, Paul Starkie, who attended some on Niall’s sessions, said: “Niall has been a great success at school and his accessible approach and enthusiasm has gone down extremely well with all the students he has worked with.”

Niall was “writer in residence” on the last voyage of the RMS. He has published seven novels for adults including ‘Grits’, ‘Runt’ and ‘Wreckage’. His latest novel is ‘A Great Big Shining Star’. Two of his novels, ‘Kelly and Victor’ and ‘Wreckage’ have been made into screenplays and filmed for television. Niall also writes non-fiction, particularly travel writing, magazine articles and reviews.

He has a wealth of experience in hosting writers’ workshops and performing all round the world in places as varied as Inuit huts on Arctic ice-fields and prisons in the UK. He can now add St Helena Island to his list of venues.

Prince Andrew School Students
13 September 2013