Bartica nurse graduates from BIT – administered electrical course

Among 41 who completed training in several areas

Susan Benjamin, a nurse attached to the Bartica Hospital, was one of 41 persons who benefitted from technical and vocational training programmes under the Board of Industrial Training’s (BIT) National Training Project for Youth Empowerment.

Benjamin was the lone woman among seven men who participated in the four-month electrical installation programme. She expressed gratitude to the government for providing the opportunity for her to upskill.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton

“Growing up in a single parent home, I was raised by a strong woman and she always encouraged us to be independent and to try everything and do everything…so, for me doing this is an added skill and is something I always wanted to do,” she said in an interview with DPI.

Although the programme was challenging, Benjamin said she was determined to complete the training, and expressed gratitude to her colleagues and the facilitator who helped her.

“Every day was a different challenge. Throughout the programme they (her colleagues) encouraged me. There were many days I wanted to quit, but they always encouraged me,” she said.

Minister Hamilton handing a certificate to a student of the commercial food preparation programme.

Eighteen other persons participated in commercial food preparation and 15 in garment construction. 

During his charge to students at a graduation ceremony held at the Bartica Secondary School, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton spoke of the importance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to economic development, creating employment and preparing citizens for the labour market.

He said that this was the first time training programmes like these are being developed and executed in communities throughout the country, particularly in the hinterland regions.

“Before, if Bartica or any other community wanted to do a programme, they had to journey to Georgetown to engage the BIT to get a programme in their community.

Minister of Labour and students of the electrical installation programme.

Today, we have a BIT officer stationed here to help to fashion programmes for Bartica and surrounding communities,” Minister Hamilton said.

The labour minister said that this is the beginning of a relationship between BIT and Bartica, as more programmes will be made available to residents of the township over the next year.

More importantly, he said efforts will be made to include more women into technical training programmes, as well as reskilling retirees, noting that the programmes are not gender specific.

Students of the garment construction programme

“We cannot speak to development and we exclude more than half of the population. Everyone must be included regardless of your gender or where you reside and that is our policy.”

The Ministry of Labour, through BIT has trained over 2,000 people in over 100 skilled areas last year. This year, it is expected that  3,000 will be trained throughout the country.

Also present at the ceremony was Regional Executive Officer (REO), Kerwin Ward, Mayor of Bartica, Gifford Marshall, and BIT Technical Officer, Joseph Barratt.