156 graduate from BNTF skills training

DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Basic Needs Trust Fund hosted a graduation ceremony at the Umana Yana this afternoon for the 156 students who completed their studies in various disciplines. Delivering the feature address, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan urged the graduates to keep their eye on the prize and not to be distracted by the material ways of the world.

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan giving the feature address.

Minister Jordan in his address, made reference to the well-educated young man that lost his life during the Republic Bank robbery on Tuesday morning. He noted that many youths in today’s society are influenced by slogans like, “Get rich quick or die trying, regardless of the meaning.”

Minister Jordan explained that in a study sanctioned by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Guyana’s total unemployment rate was recorded as being persistently high which adversely affects the wellbeing of not only the youth in the population but the country a whole.

“Government policies are designed to lower unemployment through the creation of job opportunities,” Minister Jordan said the study showed that the two of the main contributing factors for the high unemployment rates are school drop outs and the lack of marketable skills among many youth and women.

“These two obstacles to Guyana’s growth are made even more frightening when you consider that there is a perception that some youth want material gains while lacking the wherewithal to do so. As a result, crime is a resort,” Minister Jordan urged the graduating class to embrace their skills and use opportunities to the best of their ability.

This is the ninth batch of the BNTF graduates, however it is the first time that students from three different programmes

Ohziyah’s cake cottage, gluten free cakes, and cakes in a jar.

are graduating together; Bell West Skills Training,

Buxton Skills Training and Training to Help Realise Innovation Ventures and Entrepreneur (THRIVE).

Bernard Lord, BNTF, Oversight Entity Chairman explained that, the BNTF collaborated with Merundoi, Ideal Foods, Buxton First of August Movement and Bell West Community Association to facilitate the programmes.

The Bell West Skills Training entailed basic electrical installation, cosmetology, catering and cake decoration and garment construction.

The Buxton Skills Training persons graduated in Information Technology & Office Procedures, garment construction and woodworking.

The THRIVE is a new programme where persons are introduced to entrepreneur, financial management, marketing and distribution, Market research, Analysis and Projections, Food Processing and Packaging (Basic & Specific areas), Scaling and Strategic Management of the Entrepreneur.

Some of the graduates at the ceremony.

BNTF also provides seed capital in the form of tools, small machinery and start up finance, the intention is to empower youth, this is, “to take one step closer to open the door of your own businesses,” Minister Jordan said.

The Finance Minister encouraged persons to apply for grants from the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurship Development (SLED) programme.

At the graduation ceremony, some of the graduates’ businesses were on display. One such business  is Ohziyah’s Cake Cottage. Hollyann France the entrepreneur who graduated from the cake decoration class said the that the training has assisted her in being able to better manage and market her business.  She has been baking and icing cakes for over ten years now, however with the training her business is now certified and one of her new marketing strategy is gluten-free cakes in a jar.

The BNFT has been in operation since 1979 and has been contributing to poverty reduction in targeted communities by providing infrastructure and livelihood enhancement services.



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