Tips for A Productive Summer

Productive Summertime Image

Have you ever asked yourself ‘what makes a good summer vacation?’ Some feel that a favourable vacation consists of simply laying back and doing as little as possible.  They see a vacation as a period of time when schedules are banished and deadlines are ignored. There are others however who live life under the premise that every second of every day must be spent in a structured and orderly way. They believe that no period of time should be unregulated and thus wasted. How an individual spends their time off is a personal decision, and no one way should ever be viewed as wrong but for those who would prefer to follow a productively active plan, there are some actions that can be taken to help you do so.

 Wake Up Early

Nothing eats away at your summer break like staying beneath the covers for most of the morning.  Decide the previous day when you will get out of bed, then make sure to follow through. During the first few weeks of your vacation, chances are that you will relish the opportunity to sleep in. It’s okay to do this and to give yourself a break but try not to make it a practice throughout the duration of your holiday as you may well end up spending the entire time in bed.

Maintain Good Health and Hygiene

Just because you are not obligated to leave your home every day during your vacation, it does not mean that you have to let yourself go. Take care of your health and hygiene.  You may also consider taking some summer fitness classes to get into shape or to help improve on the great shape that you already have.  If you are not too interested in joining a formal fitness club or group you should still try to get outside and have fun every day.


Research a topic of interest, make some time to find out about something new. Your studying does not have to be limited to a book or the internet however. Go out to a museum, a gallery or a library to find out more about the chosen subject.  If you are a student, remember that studying remains essential throughout the school year. Look over last year’s notes or do some research into what next year’s courses have in store. When school resumes, you`ll be grateful that your academic knowledge and skills have not deteriorated.

Join a Volunteer Group

There are always groups around the community in need of some help. Give up some of your time to help out. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Go To Camp

Camps do not only pertain to children. Adult camps may be in operation under a different name or format.  Ask around, you may be surprised at how many adult community activities are in operation that offer the chance of learning something new.  You could learn to write, draw, bind books, and make photo albums, knit and so much more. Try something new and different, something that you know nothing whatsoever about and you will gain a new skill and possibly find a lifelong hobby to love.

As stated, everyone has their own idea of what makes a good summer vacation and no one way is better than another but if you are not travelling abroad or planning anything elaborate for your summer break you can still make it memorable by making it productively active.


About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. 


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NCPC Productivity Ambassadors Motivate Graduates

Young Leader Tevin Shepherd with CSS Graduates

Queen’s Young Leader Tevin Shepherd with Corinth Graduates

Long, regal academic gowns and caps! Hues of blue, grey, green and red. A simultaneous feeling of euphoria and trepidation fills the air. Proud parents, family, faculty and supporters look on in admiration.  Graduation is here and everybody is in a celebratory mood. Years upon years of hard work and sacrifice have culminated in this long-awaited moment and the ensuing ceremonies are full of pomp and circumstance, and rightfully so!

Graduation is undeniably one of the most important milestones in the journey from childhood to adulthood. It signals the end of an era of certainty and the beginning of another era characterized by limitless possibilities, significant responsibility and the “great unknown.”

When the NCPC was established in 2013, its main purpose was to facilitate the enhancement of levels of productivity and competitiveness in Saint Lucia. As part of this thrust, the Council has identified young people as critical in cultivating a new generation of productive, self-driven and success-oriented citizenry. 

With this in mind, in June 2016 as thousands of secondary school leavers island-wide prepared to cross the threshold, Productivity Ambassadors from the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) had a moment in the spotlight at their graduation ceremonies.  Their role was to offer some encouragement to new graduates and remind them of their individual roles in improving their own and ultimately Saint Lucia’s levels of productivity and competitiveness.

Janai Leonce poses with CCSS School Principal

Deputy Chief Economist in the Ministry of Finance and NCPC Council Member poses with Marva Daniel, CCSS Principal

As the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School 2016 Graduation Ceremony opened under the theme “Rising to New Possibilities from One Foundation,” NCPC Productivity Ambassador/Council Member, Janai Leonce, Deputy Chief Economist in the Ministry of Finance asked graduants to let productivity guide their thoughts, If you develop a mindset of making maximum use of your resources you will become more thoughtful and deliberate in your actions and this will helpful you through life.  You will also quickly realize that one of the most valuable resources that you have is time. Be mindful of it, be crafty with it.”

In similar fashion, at the Corinth Secondary School Graduation, Queen’s Young Leader, Youth Enthusiast and Productivity Ambassador Tevin Shepherd, chronicled the obstacles he faced growing up and how he did not allow them to determine his future. Addressing the graduants he said, “This graduation’s theme, “I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions” is very fitting. I know all too well how easy it is to let challenges prevent us from realising our full potential. I want to implore you to be the owners of your destiny! Never give up! The world needs vibrant young minds like yours.”

Managing Director of Algas Organics and young entrepreneur Mr. Johanan Dujon also had the opportunity to share his own story of finding and nurturing his passion and eventually living his dreams to a group of over 100 students of the Leon Hess Comprehensive School 2016 Graduating Class. Mr. Dujon cautioned the students not to expect anything to be handed to them on a platter. He further encouraged them to find what they loved and to passionately and relentlessly invest in it and make a career out of it.


Johanan Dujon, Managing Director, Algas Organics with LHCSS 2016 Graduating Class

 The transition from Secondary School to the real world can be very daunting for students. The Inaugural NCPC Schools’ Graduation Tour, aims to promote an awareness and understanding of the notions of productivity and competitiveness and help the youth to understand how powerful they are as agents for change. Through this commitment to increasing knowledge and re-shaping mindsets, we will continue to see improvements in all facets of society.

Productivity High on Mental Wellness Nurses Agenda

There’s a popular saying that goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”  When a cup is empty, no amount of work or wishing could produce a drop out of it. In the very same way, as individuals, when we push ourselves beyond our limits (emptying our physical and mental reserves) and more is required of us, we are then unable to produce in a manner that is efficient.

The notion of productivity is steeped in the ideals of efficiency, continuous improvement and excellence.   In fact, the Business Dictionary defines productivity as the “measure of the efficiency of a person, machine, factory, system, etc., in converting inputs into useful outputs.”

In a field like nursing, where the work never ends, achieving maximum productivity is a difficult feat. A normal/typical day does not exist in the life of a nurse. As primary caregivers, nurses are often found balancing diverse tasks to ensure that their patients are well cared for, all while putting their own needs aside. Regrettably, the effects of caregiving on their health/well-being and output are often considerable.

Mental Wellness Centre Staff At Retreat

Saint Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre Staff Retreat

The nurses of the Rehabilitation Unit #3 of the St. Lucia National Mental Wellness Centre provide mental health care services to the patients on the unit.  Their patients include long stay patients who are sometimes geriatric and independent patients who have been undergoing treatment for periods exceeding ten (10) years. Their primary goal is to prepare patients for re-entry into society by ensuring that they adhere to their stipulated treatment regime. The delicate nature of their work means that the nurses are constantly on the go.

The team of nurses who service the unit came to the stark realization that continuing in the current “always on the go” fashion would do more harm than good to their overall job efficiency. It was with this in mind that on June 24th, 2016, the nurses broke away from their usual work setting and decided to invest in their own self-care and development. 

In an attempt to boost overall staff morale and productivity at the Centre and by extension help them to achieve even greater results on the job, the idea of a teambuilding retreat was birthed. The activity which was observed under the theme ‘Celebrating Our Achievements, Striving to Give our Best’ opened with a debriefing session facilitated by Mr. Martin Weekes, a training and management consultant professional. During this session, the nurses had the opportunity to examine where they were at professionally and personally and where they would like to see themselves advance and the required actions to needed for their advancement.

The highlight of the day however was a presentation on “Productivity in the Workplace” by Mrs. Fiona Hinkson, Executive Director of the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council. Having identified productivity as critical to improving the existing work environment at the National Wellness Centre, when Unit Manager, Ms. Enda Edward approached the Secretariat, the response was a resounding yes.

The presentation sought to give the nurses an overall understanding of what productivity is, the existing productivity climate but more so as it pertained to the health sector, the importance of productivity and most importantly ways to improve it. Mrs. Hinkson was very pleased at the level of interest and interaction during the presentation and in closing applauded the Unit for taking the initiative to improve their productivity. “You cannot pre-empt how any given day is going to unfold or the number of patients that you may have to care for. However, there is so much that you can do to take care of your own personal well-being and ensure that your needs are met,” Mrs. Hinkson stated in her opening remarks to the participants.

“Understanding productivity and what impacts it, means that you now have the tools to work in a manner which is more efficient and will yield greater results. While you strive for greater output, you must not neglect the quality of that output. Your investment in yourselves today, is reflective of your willingness to be better at what you do and I applaud that. Today is a step in the right direction which can only augur well for the health sector.  The NCPC urges you to continue to invest in yourselves so that your patients can continue to receive an even higher quality of health care.”

Productivity continues to be a major impediment to organizational efficiency, growth and development. More often than not, a lack of understanding of the part that each individual has to play in improving productivity is what creates barriers. As we pursue productivity on a national level, we must continue to challenge current mindsets and highlight the need for continued efforts at attaining excellence.

How Can Business Leaders Strengthen Saint Lucia’s Competitiveness through Investments in Education?


A country’s stagnant education system can contribute to the decline in a country’s competitiveness. As such, there lies an opportunity for our local business leaders to form partnerships with our educators to affect a workforce that is ready to revolutionize the private sector to spur economic growth and country competitiveness. Global business leaders have long recognized the connection between an effective education system and a qualified workforce.

Additionally, advanced economies have shown that an economy’s long term prosperity depends on the quality of its human resources. Failing to invest adequately in human resources can develop into an economic problem for countries. This is critical since at the core of country competitiveness is the quality of the human resources of a nation. This is greatly influenced by the quality and standard of skills training and the education system.

It is therefore important that Saint Lucia invests in proper education and training of the workforce to prepare students for the relevant jobs in industries where the country has a competitive advantage. Training should also prepare the workforce for jobs in the global market. This means that skilled persons can export their services overseas or investors can outsource services to the country because of the availability of specialized skills. This is particularly important in alleviating Saint Lucia’s high rate of unemployment.

“Business leaders today are engaged in education in ways that are generous, well-intended, effective at alleviating the symptoms of a weak education system, and thoroughly inadequate to help strengthen the system,” says Harvard Business School Professor Jan W. Rivkin.

The current generation of private sector innovators is now inclined to challenge traditional ways of doing things in schools. They see the traditional school system as failing to equip the future labor force with the skills to compete in a global age. They believe passionately that innovative products and approaches could help students perform better. This determination to shake things up within schools has motivated business leaders to invest in schools.

Rivkin pointed out the new developments in education that has been implemented as a result of the private sector getting involved in the education system. He noted developments such as improved teaching and leadership talent, the use of technology in personalized learning and a dramatic upgrade in the quality and use of data analytics to determine what is working in education and which measures are not effective.

So what can business leaders do, to make sure the workforce of the future is getting what they need? It is a matter of acknowledging the problem, realizing what this means for businesses and actually doing something about it. The following are three areas that capitalize on business’s strengths which can result in the greatest returns within the education sector:

  • Influencing policy-In order to promote innovation in education, this process has to start with policy formulation.  Business leaders can exercise a great deal of influence in policy within our local schools. In the US, in Denver, Colorado, businessmen partnered with educators to lobby for an increase in taxes to support education.
  • Building on proven innovation- Business leaders are usually skillful at using innovations that work within their respective businesses. Therefore the educators need to leverage this expertise to help build better schools. ExxonMobil, a founding sponsor of the National Math and Science Initiative, helped to scale two projects: one focusing on improved training for science, technology, and math teachers, the other on improving advanced placement test results in the same areas.
  • Reinventing the local education system. Employers need to get involved and help teachers build curriculums that encourage creative thinking.  Business leaders are now participating in standards validation committees to ensure that learning requirements are up to date. By doing this, they actually create material that actually teaches what their best employee needs to know. They are now investing their time to make sure that experience and innovation become instilled in graduates. This ensures that school leavers get hired!

It is therefore important that private sector leaders not simply wait for the education system to change on its own.  Local businesses have the expertise, experiences and resources to make a shift. As such, something has to be done than to sit and just complain about employees having no skills.

This shift can start before students graduate. In light of this small acts go a long way, whether it is hiring apprentices for projects in the office. Allow them to use real tools instead of having them run errands. Nowadays, nearly every office has some database that needs to be reviewed. Therefore the intern can start there. It may be considered as boring work, but is essential in gaining familiarity with technology and working with data. Alternatively, students can be giving the space to exercise their creativity in coming up with solutions to a work problem.

Successful local leaders need to become part of the solution. They are the teachers that our students truly need. Whether you are a company leader, hiring manager, expert or a job candidate, you have a stake in addressing this issue. The education revolution is upon us and business leaders have the power to effect a positive change which can lead to a more effective and competitive workforce.

 About the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC)

Established in October 2013, The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) is responsible for the identification of key issues related to competitiveness and productivity in Saint Lucia.

The NCPC and its Technical Secretariat is committed to providing the necessary advocacy and research to produce timely and effective recommendations to policymakers on issues that affect both competitiveness and productivity on island. For more information about productivity or on the NCPC, visit;, call 468-5571/5576 or send an e-mail to



NCPC Graduation Tour Series Continues


Queen’s Young Leader and Productivity Ambassador Tevin Shepherd Addresses Students of Corinth Secondary School

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Queen’s Young Leader and Productivity Ambassador Tevin Shepherd poses with        CSS students

An enchanted silence filled the auditorium when the sea of over 100 students clad in their blue and grey gowns descended upon a crowd of proud family, friends, teachers and supporters at the 26th Graduation Exercise of the Corinth Secondary School.

It was evident from the start of the proceedings that it was going to be an extraordinary evening and the students and faculty did not disappoint in their delivery.

Every part of the evening’s programme from the students’ performance of the song “I Know Who I Am” by Sinach to the Feature Address by Mr. Armstrong Alexis, past student of the Corinth Secondary School,  echoed the theme for this year’s graduation “I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions.”

Following the address by the Principal, Mr. Willard Andrew (an account of the academic year 2015-2016); Mr. Alexis who is currently the Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP gave a heartfelt account of his experiences as a young man growing up in the community of Gros-Islet and his journey at the former Corinth Junior Secondary School. In closing , Mr. Alexis encouraged the students not to allow any obstacles to come between them and their dreams.

The programme continued with many displays of the raw and diverse talent of the Corinth Secondary School students. Each performance further highlighted the message that each student had to play an active role owners of their own destiny and not mere participants.

IMG-20160630-WA0041.jpg.jpegThe evening came to an end on a very high note with a charismatic speech by Productivity Ambassador, 23 year old Tevin Shepherd, recent recipient of the Queen’s Young Leader Award and 2nd Vice President of the Saint Lucia National Youth Council. Mr. Shepherd captivated the students and other guests with the story of his very humble beginnings, growing up in Canaries and attending the Soufriere Comprehensive School.  He spoke of the adversities he faced along the way and how although he could have called it quits at any point, but by making a firm decision to change his story, he went on to have so many opportunities and experiences that many his age have only dreamed of.

Tevin is the perfect of example of what happens when a young person decides to defy the odds. What is even more inspiring about this young man is the commitment he has made to help other young people like himself to realise their full potential and achieve their dreams.

Look out for more excerpts from the 2016 NCPC Schools’ Graduation Tour.