UG students should be job ready after benefitting from internship – Min.  Hamilton

Labour Minister, Joseph Hamilton said Monday that a collective effort is being made to establish a joint committee to pay attention to the issue of apprenticeships and/or internships for students of the University of Guyana (UG).

“I believe that all students regardless of what discipline they are studying or graduating in, should be exposed in their final year to apprenticeship and/or internship,” the minister said.

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton engaging a university graduate at the ministry job fair

He stated that the consideration is being raised because many graduates with distinctions and all the other academic credentials cannot find jobs in their fields of study.

This is further compounded when those graduates, while having the qualifications, lack the experience required by employers.

“The only way I can see that we give those students the experiences [needed] is by ensuring that in their final year they are at work with entities that deal with their specific skill sets,” minister Hamilton added.

Further, the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency (CRMA) have begun preliminary discussions with the leadership of the University of Guyana.

“The Chief Recruitment Officer of CRMA, Ms Yolanda Grant and the CEO of BIT, Mr Richard Maughn were tasked by me to engage the university to see how we could develop a programme to ensure that this can happen,” he said.

Minister Hamilton also noted that the authority to engage companies in apprenticeship programmes rests solely with the Board of Industrial Training.

Companies and other entities which are indicating through social media and other means of communication that they are running apprenticeship programmes might be breaking the law, unless the master trainer designation has been adopted through BIT.

“If you run an apprentice programme without being what they call ‘master’ in the law, you are breaking the law and we hope that companies understand that,” the minister stated.

In addition, the concept of apprenticeship is misunderstood at times, minister Hamilton added because any discipline that requires a person to be trained over a period for a specific job, despite having requisite academic qualifications, is considered an apprenticeship.

This fact has also prompted the minister to share that he has had conversations with companies in Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas industry, regarding them being properly registered through BIT to become master trainers.

Minister Hamilton views the apprenticeship/internship proposal as a way forward in addressing the issue.