Guyana Mining School and Training Centre launches second Introductory Jewellery Making Course

The Guyana Mining School and Training Centre Inc., a body corporate of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, on Monday, May 8, 2023, launched a second ‘Introduction to Jewellery Making’ course at the E. R. Burrowes School of Art Carifesta Avenue.

This second training batch was made possible with collaboration and contributions from the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport, the Guyana National Bureau of Standards, Jacob’s Jewellery, Raj Jewellery, Steve’s Jewellery, King’s Jewellery, R. Sookraj Jewellery and L & V Danram Wholesale and Retail.

The program is intended to build the capacity of the local jewellery industry, provide opportunities for indigenous youths, and ultimately result in a more significant input to GDP by the jewellery industry. The course had its genesis in March of 2022 during a stakeholder meeting organised by the Minister of Natural Resources.

There, stakeholders brought to the attention of the Minister the demand for high-quality Guyanese jewellery and the skills deficit of the industry to meet the demand. During the meeting, stakeholders agreed that the primary way to address the need for skilled and certified workers was by training goldsmiths and apprenticeship programs. To address these issues, the Hon. Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, urged the Guyana Mining School to design and develop a training program for goldsmiths and apprentices in Guyana.

Under Mr Vaughn Felix, Director of the Mining School, the program was designed and implemented to provide the industry with the necessary skills, knowledge, and certification. It also outlined the steps to ensure safety and compliance with all relevant regulations. The first batch was launched in June 2022 and was followed by an Intermediate batch in September 2022.

This 2023 batch of training sought to improve on the first iteration of the Introduction to Jewellery Making course in the following ways:

  • Increased Trainees

There was a higher demand for the introduction to the jewellery-making course, indicating increased interest among potential trainees. The trainee intake was increased to meet this demand and accommodate more individuals interested in learning jewellery making. Also, by expanding the trainee intake, the Mining School could reach a larger audience and provide a more diverse set of people with the opportunity to learn about jewellery making. The first batch of trainees admitted and certified in the first round of training in the Introduction to Jewellery Making program was 19. In the second batch, it was increased to 42.

  • Increased Staff

The second training batch has doubled the training staff from one Lecturer and one Assistant to two of each. This was incorporated to handle the increased student intake. With the increased trainee intake, it becomes necessary to maintain a suitable student-to-staff ratio for practical instruction and guidance. By doubling the training staff, the course ensures that each trainee can receive sufficient instructor attention and support. Increasing the training staff allows for a diversified pool of expertise and knowledge. With two lecturers and two assistants, the course can provide more comprehensive and tailored instruction. Each instructor may have different areas of specialisation or teaching styles, which can enrich the learning experience for the trainees.

  • New/Improved Tools and Equipment

The existing equipment was updated to improve the training experience for trainers and trainees and minimise hindrances to the smooth flow of training sessions. Adding new tools is also intended to maximise the possible range of techniques, including stone setting and metalworking. By providing updated and safe equipment, the Mining School is committed to maintaining a secure learning environment and minimising the risk of accidents or injuries. Additionally, by introducing new equipment that enhances productivity and efficiency, the course enables trainees to learn and practice jewellery-making in a more time-effective and streamlined manner. The improved equipment also included new personal protective gear.

  • Increased Stakeholder Commitment

Previously, jewellers such as Jacob’s, Steve’s, King’s and Raj Jewellery committed to supporting the program by offering apprenticeship opportunities and assistance where needed. Now we have seen the commitment of R. Sookraj Jewellery and L & V Danram. R. Sookraj has committed to offering apprenticeship opportunities, and L & V Danram has donated a mill (used to shape and form metals) and a flex shaft (used for grinding, deburring, carving, engraving, stone setting, and polishing). Mr Danram has also committed to offering special discounts to students of the course who visit his Wholesale and Retail Stall at #1/2 2S, Section 3 & #82-83 Section 1 Stabroek Market.