Cook Islands campus director Dr Debi Futter-Puati says now is the perfect time for business owners to invest in the education of their staff.
With thousands of people currently unemployed or working reduced hours because of the Covid-19 crisis, she believes this is an opportunity to ready ourselves for busier times.
Though companies will need to cover the course fees themselves, government will pay an additional three months’ wage subsidy for those enrolled in training.
Futter-Puati has set out to support upskilling those people most likely to be out of work – especially in the tourism/hospitality industry.
“We are always hearing that the Cook Islands lacks employees with ‘higher skills’,” she said.
“We hope that by offering these courses during a time when people have reduced hours of work, that they can use the time they have to upskill, making them even more attractive employees in the future.”
USP is offering certificates including business administration, accounting, human resources and small business development and management.
They expect to know how many people are interested in the different courses by the end of this week.
If those numbers are good, the courses will be offered via blended learning – a mix of face-to-face and online – as well as ensuring people can come away with a qualification.
“Supporting your reduced hours, or unemployed staff through subsidising their education strengthens their skills making them more attractive employees,” she said.
“You are supporting staff by investing in their future as well as creating goodwill. It could perhaps be that businesses offer to pay for courses, or part of courses, and ask for bonded service in return once we are through the Covid-19 event.”