179 Lindeners benefitting from special BIT programme

– part of efforts to build human resource capacity

The Labour Ministry through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) launched a special skills training programme on Tuesday in Linden, Region 10, to build human resource capacity, and bridge the deficiencies that exist in the labour force.

Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton spearheaded a two-day engagement in the mining town to inspect the ongoing training programmes, where 179 Lindeners are participating in six specialised courses tailored to the needs in the region.

Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton inspecting the project of the electrical installation trainees

Minister Hamilton said the programme is focused on building the country’s human resource capacity.

“We wanted to focus and get as far as we can with the persons who are needed with specific skills in some areas that are deficient in the country. All of these skill sets have a relationship to a sector,”he said.

The programme commenced last month and is expected to be completed by December.

Training programmes include motor vehicle repairs, electrical installation, joinery, auto electrics and electronics, welding and fabrication, air conditioning and refrigeration repairs, heavy-duty equipment operators and food preparation.

Female trainee doing AC repair works at the Linden Health Centre

The programmes have a community development component, which allows trainees to demonstrate and utilise their skills in community building.

Upon completion, persons will receive an accredited certificate and licence.

During the visit, the minister met with trainees from the air conditioning installation and repairs courses, who were repairing AC units at a community health centre.

Trainees of the mechanic course

Meanwhile, BIT technical officers have recorded an increase in the participation of women in the programmes, which, Minister Hamilton noted, is a win for the country.

“Females are in the programme, so that is a win for all of us because I have been saying that women have to think outside of the box and they have to move into other skills training and other types of jobs.”

The programmes have also been rolled out in Regions Two, Five and Six. It is similarly tailored to the geographic needs of the regions.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Information (DPI) spoke with several female participants, who stated that the training is an opportunity for self-development.

Eighteen-year-old Mikeda Richardson, who is part of the welding and fabrication course, said she joined the programme because it was free and will create avenues for multiple streams of income.

Mikeda Richardson displaying her project

It is good to learn a new trade, so you could go about to the world of work and at least you can get a certificate to show that you know to do something. So just in case, your first option doesn’t work out, you can always fall back and do something else. I would like to become a geologist and since I am learning this welding course, I would like to open my welding shop or something so that I can allow persons to gain employment right here,” Richardson said.

She expressed elation that more women are making their mark in male-dominated fields.

“It is very nice to know that women are empowering themselves and you know they are coming out to the field of work moving away from the stigma type that females aren’t able to do a certain type of job.”

Nineteen-year-old Richard Fraser in the electrical installation course, said, “Since I was small, I always wanted to do electrical work and since I come to LTI I didn’t have the opportunity to join the electrical class, because the class was full. I am glad I am here to do this here and when I finish this programme I want to go out in the field and work.”

Kendy Marshall, a mother, said she joined the course to be an example to her son, who is also in the training programme.

“I joined this programme because of my son. I want him to come out of the box and so much of the time as a parent we get our children and they just focus on this gadget. So, I want them to come out and learn something for themselves. And this is one thing I wanted to do since when I was back in school so now, I get the chance, I am gaining too.”

The ministry also launched the programme in Kwakwani, which has approximately 70 persons benefitting.