BIT – a success story for youths – 697 graduate from Region 4

Georgetown, GINA, December 16, 2013

 

A total of 697 young Guyanese graduated from Region 4 after completing training in a variety of areas under the purview of the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) programme today at the National Cultural Centre (NCC).

They will now move forward armed with critical skills in the fields of engineering, building construction, allied health services, information technology, clerical practices and home economics. There were two sets of graduands; from the National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE) and the Single Parent Training programme.

BIT graduands at the National Cultural Centre

President Donald Ramotar, who delivered the feature address, said that countries like Guyana need a more skilled workforce to propel its economy and its social and physical infrastructure. These skills, he explained, are the tools that are necessary in the fight against unemployment and poverty.

“Employers look for skilled people to employ…the most important part of development is not just the natural resources that the country possesses, but the quality of the people as well,” the Head of State emphasised.

 

He spoke of Asian countries like Japan and China, the latter which, a mere 30 years ago used to be affected by issues such as famine; today it is the second largest economy in the world.

President Donald Ramotar addressing the Region Four graduands of the Board of Industrial Training

He added that China’s development came largely as a result of the investment made in the development of its human resources, and it is against this background, that programmes such as those offered by BIT are extremely important.

Over the past eight years, Guyana’s economy has been growing in spite of a financial economic crisis that has rocked the world, including the CARICOM region. As such, some countries have had to make hard choices such as laying-off public servants as in the case of Barbados, which is set to send home thousands of public workers next year.

The President said that Guyana has successfully managed to avoid these scenarios as significant efforts have been made to broaden the country’s economic base rather than just restricting to the traditional areas.

 

He said that as it stands at present, a strong, disciplined and skilled workforce and the need to transform the traditional sectors to add value to them are areas that need much more focus in order to foster more rapid growth and development.

President Donald Ramotar presenting a certificate to one of the Board of Industrial Training graduands. Labour Minister Dr Nanda Gopaul looks on approvingly

The President also spoke of the new sectors such as ICT, services, manufacturing and construction and said that, “we have to keep an eye on building the skills that we need that will give us a better quality of life in our country.”

Mention was also made of the need for cheaper and reliable electricity. While he lamented the outcome of the proposed Amaila Falls Hydropower Project, he reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to providing hydroelectricity.

The President urged the graduands not to be satisfied with what they have achieved, but to apply themselves to venture even further in the individual fields.  “You can create employment for yourself and others as well, that is why courses like these are so important and vital for the development for our country,” he said.

He also lauded the companies that facilitated the practical training to match the theoretical lessons.

Minister of Labour Dr. Nanda Gopaul pointed out that 2013 had the largest budget for training and the largest number of graduates for the programme, with Region 4 topping with 697.

Expressing his worry during Budget 2013 about the possibility that the sums allocated would be cut, the Minister pointed out his belief that the programme focused on giving young people a second chance in life. This, he explained was his major concern on behalf of the young Guyanese who were clamouring for a second chance.

Minister Gopaul said that the programme which was conceptualised eight years ago, was done to ensure all young people are given an opportunity. Guyana is the only country which offers this type of programme, and other countries have shown an interest in using it as a model, he stated.

The Labour Minister, however, expressed his disappointment that persons who have not utilised the programme are not coming forward. He pointed out that all persons who are trained in technical fields are employed immediately in very lucrative areas and those in other areas are given opportunities to help pursue their trade. He advocated for more outreaches into communities for schooling, pointing out that training by various organisations cater for entire sectors, and not individual organisations.

Clinton Williams, Chairman, BIT thanked the stakeholders for their contribution to the training, and pointed out the need for closer collaboration among them and the Regional Councils and the Private Sector to address the increasing training demand. He said the training programmes have been conceived and are delivered n accordance with the National TVET strategy.

CEO/Executive Secretary of BIT, Maria Khelawan giving a brief background of BIT said that more than 8, 000 youth have accessed the training to date.  She said the NTPYE trained 1,629 for this year, in eight of the administrative regions at more than 200 public and private organisations.

The NTPYE is a programme which was launched by His Excellency, President Bharrat Jagdeo in June 2005 and aims to provide Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to out-of-school youths across the country. It falls under the portfolio of the Minister of Labour, Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security and is implemented by BIT.

The programme consists of on the job training and exposure to life skills educational classes. The youth who are targeted are between the ages of 15 and 25. Most of these youths do not have the requisite CSEC qualifications to enter the job market or they may not have completed secondary education.

The project is intended to train 1750 youths in a one- year period in a variety of occupations on demand, and thus far, it has been implemented in six of the administrative regions.

Nowrang Persaud, Vice Chairman of BIT noted that the programme is transformative as it regards the development of human resources. This development, he pointed out, is built upon a support of knowledge, skills and partnerships.

 

Thus far, 2,292 young people have graduated from the BIT courses in 2013 in Regions 2 (Pomeroon/ Supenaam), 3 (Essequibo Islands/West Demerara), 6 (East Berbice/Corentyne), 7 (Cuyuni Mazaruni) and 10 (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice).

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