GTC designs four-week technical programme for retrenched sugar workers

DPI, GUYANA, Saturday 24, 2018

The Guyana Sugar Corporation Training Centre (GTC) has developed a 120-hours training programme for retrenched sugar workers.

At a recent meeting with Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman, School Programme Coordinator, Zamin Ally said the programme will be split between the New Amsterdam Technical Institute, GTC and the Upper Corentyne Training Centre. The meeting forms part of a needs assessment evaluation to determine how the GTC can train local content for the oil and gas industry.

The technical training programme is part of GuySuCo’s Alternative Livelihood Programme for the more than 4,000 sugar workers who have been retrenched in the downsizing of the sugar industry.

“I know the Communications Officer at GuySuCo, she is actually working to engage the community and to see how much persons will be interested. What we are doing here is preparing ourselves to accommodate them,” Ally explained.

GTC which is located in Port Mourant, Berbice will be providing courses in mechanics, refrigeration, agriculture mechanics, motor vehicle, welding and fabrication and electrical installations.

Minster Trotman indicated his Ministry’s willingness to sponsor some of the workers who would be part of the programme.

Preserving GTC’s apprenticeship programme

The GTC is considered the first technical training school in Guyana. It has been around for some 62 years training staff for GuySuCo.

The institute provides a four-year apprenticeship programme for persons who will eventually be hired to work on GuySuCo’s estates in engineering fields such as industrial electrical insulation, instrumentation programme, automation, agriculture mechanic programme and welding and fabrication among others.

With the downsizing of the sugar industry, the school will not have any students in June, leaving much staff uncertain of the school’s future. Currently, there are 65 apprentices being trained by GTC.

“We found that the three estates remaining in sugar, they would have already had their quota of apprentice based on their stats and projected target,” Ally pointed out. He said the institution has devised several proposals to ensure that the programme is sustained and has presented them to GuySuCo’s Director of Human Resource Earl John.

The proposals intended to secure attendance for the institution and ensure that instructors and other staff remain employed will include training persons from the hinterland regions.

This suggestion seeks to address a need for trainers to work at technical institutions that the government plans to establish in hinterland communities, Ally indicated. GTC has dormitory facilities that can accommodate approximately 120 persons.

According to Ally the training centre also proposed to offer its services to private sector companies and even to have its highly qualified instructors provide “redressal programmes for current staff whose work needs updating”.

The GTC is awaiting a decision from GuySuCo’s board. The proposals, which have since been ratified, are awaiting a decision from the board following GuySuCo’s next board meeting, Ally said.

The institution has also been in talks with the University of Guyana to see how it can be sustained through collaboration.

Meanwhile, Minister Trotman gave assurances that the government would like to see the apprenticeship programme maintained at the school.

“Government wouldn’t wish everything to come to one school but I certainly believe this school has a special place in the history of technical education in Guyana and has to be preserved,” Minister Trotman said.

The apprenticeship programme remains the core of the GTC’s operations despite having diversified to offer evening classes through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).

By: Tiffny Rhodius

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