Technical education touted as means to address unemployment

Georgetown, GINA, June 16, 2016

Chief Education Officer (CEO) at the Ministry of Education, Olato Sam says the Linden Technical Institute (LTI) is under-utilised at a time when there is high unemployment.

He was speaking at the opening of a new training programme and workshop at the Institute.

“If we are to be honest the reality is that LTI as a community institution is significantly under utilised. This is highly ironic since, many lament the high degree of unemployment in various communities and the absences of job creation options,” Sam pointed out.

He told the gathering that Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) has to be embraced as one of the more obvious and immediate avenues for job creation.

“Scores of unemployed, untrained and uncertified youths need to be enlightened about the tremendous potential that exists in this realm, in fact I would venture to say that the economic viability of this community depends on the extent to which we utilise this resource and others like it to effectively prepare our youths to take advantage of opportunities that would ultimately present themselves,” Sam said.

The Chief Education Officer noted that the country’s recent history must serve as a key motivator, where employment opportunities were taken up by foreigners due to the lack of adequate training and certification of the local workforce.

Sam pointed out that virtually every new and expanding industry in Guyana demands technical skills yet; the young able-bodied citizens who should be acquiring skills in relation to what we offer are “recognizably absent.”

The Chief Education Officer called for a range of options for females, particularly in non-traditional areas of pursuit in an effort to encourage students to embrace TVET.  He also called for the upgrading of the training offered beyond traditional methods and infusion of new technologies, modern approaches and state of the art equipment to usher in a new TVET age.

“Courses in robotics and other cutting edge approaches are necessary if we are to capture the mind of our young people and to prepare them readily for emerging industries,” Sam said.

He said that the opening of the new training programme and workshop at LTI is “a step in the right direction,” but to exploit those opportunities and venture into other spheres, “our workforce must have the perquisite foundation, and too many of them are absent from institutions.”

He observed that an adequately trained population is better able to exploit emerging opportunities, is more receptive to  further training, can adapt to changes in the workforce and will contribute to the economic sustainability of the local communities.

“A clarion call must go out, the message must go out, far and wide, that we are literally squandering opportunities to transfer our economic and social realities,” Sam said. He said that the leaders of Linden and other communities across the country must come to grip with this great anomaly and work assiduously to correct it.

“Significantly, a large amount of our youths must transition directly from our secondary institutions into LTI and similar institutions …it will not happen because we wish it, it must be overtly caused to happen,” he stressed.