108 persons now certified in commercial food preparation, IT through BIT

-Four sisters among graduating batch

Residents along the East Bank and Soesdyke-Linden Highway have applauded government for providing them with the opportunity to fully equip themselves with the skills necessary to be gainfully employed or become entrepreneurs.  

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, officials, and graduates

In keeping with government’s wider initiative to upskill Guyanese across the country so they can be prepared for the rapid pace of development, 108 persons are now trained and certified through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT). 

The graduating batch, which included 100 females, are now certified in Commercial Food Preparation and Information Technology (IT). 

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton posing with the four sisters

The graduation was hosted at the Eccles Training Centre, East Bank Demerara on Wednesday. 

Several graduates expressed their elation following the successful completion of the programmes.

Mother of six, Sharlene Joseph who hails from Swan Village said the programme provided her a great opportunity since she did not complete high school. 

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton handing over a certificate

“I can do my own cake and I have six children. So, I do all of their birthday cakes and designs. I am happy for the Board of Industrial Training too to open this for young people for the generation because they could learn their own thing, and open their own business,” she noted.

Joseph graduated from the training programme along with her three sisters, Britney and Whitney Williams and Esther Joseph, which is a major accomplishment for the family.

Mother of five, Monique Meertens said, “I would like to start my own business right at home, make cakes and so on and sell right in the community. Also, I have five children, so it will be a great ease on my end instead of me paying somebody else to do birthday cakes.”

Acting CEO of BIT, Saskia Eastman handing over a certificate to Monique Meertens

Meertens encouraged other mothers to register for various programmes to elevate themselves, “I would tell them that it’s there, you just need to go out and get things done. If you stay at home, things will not happen and the programmes are free.”

Another participant, Savitri Alli said she intends to also complete the garment construction and heavy-duty equipment operation courses.

She highlighted that, “While the course was going on I started my own business. I’m hoping to expand a little bit more. So, I plan to go into the Small Business Bureau for a grant so that I could expand on catering.”

Sisters, Britney Williams, Esther Joseph, Whitney Williams and Sharlene Joseph

Sixteen-year-old, Rehanna Oselmo said she will be pursuing other programmes after she completes her Caribbean Secondary School Examination (CSEC) exams.

“During Covid time, I really didn’t have anything to do, so mommy suggested I go and do something during that time,” she related.

Meanwhile, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton noted that government will continue to provide resources to ensure programmes like these are offered to develop the country.

“In less than two years, we have already graduated over 8,000 people through the length and breadth of this country. Because for us, it is saving life. For us, it is giving people an opportunity and chance who don’t have an opportunity,” the minister relayed.

The labour minister underscored that there is no barrier to persons who want to complete multiple courses through BIT.

Senior Technical Officer, Leon Greaves noted that more technical and vocational training programmes will be extended to persons living along the Soesdyke-Linden Highway and East Bank corridor this year. 

Acting Chief Executive Officer of BIT, Saskia Eastman, Board Member, Penelope Harris, and other officials of the ministry also attended the graduation.