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Over the next six months, 440 Community Service Officers (CSO) from indigenous communities across Guyana will be trained by the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) in skilled areas such as field operation and maintenance of tractors, and solar installation and maintenance.
The initiative comes through a partnership between the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday as the training programme was launched at the Hinterland Scholarship Dormitory, Liliendaal.
Approximately $39.2 million has been set aside to fund the skills training programme which is expected to conclude on December 1, 2021.
Offering remarks at the event, Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of BIT, Richard Maughn said the programme was being launched on World Youth Skills Day which communicates to the public the Government’s interest in youth skills training in Guyana.
He said the BIT is always seeking out such opportunities to fulfil its mandate to respond to the technical and manpower needs of the Guyanese society by ensuring occupational competencies are attained.
“While the Board of Industrial Training has, for many years, embarked on similar skills training projects within Amerindian communities, never before has the Board of Industrial Training embarked on a skills training project like this type and to this magnitude,” he said.
Through the training programme, the CSOs will be able to provide the skills needed in their communities and improve their livelihoods. They will acquire the proficiencies needed to troubleshoot, operate/install, and maintain equipment in the community.
Meanwhile, also addressing the gathering was Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton said that the CSO should be seen as a starting point of the professional careers of the individuals the Government hopes to impact.
He stressed the importance of the youths being trained in the aforementioned areas especially to their communities. “What is important and why you are important is because these tractors must always keep working because it is part of a bigger government vision to ensure that the Amerindian communities are secured where food is concerned. The Board of Industrial Training by itself will continue to engage Amerindian communities through the length and breadth of this country, we will not stop, we have just started. We have gone to places BIT never went before and we will continue, no place is too far,” he said.
Minister Hamilton encouraged the participants to always seek out new skills as it will take a multi-skilled and talented person to survive in the current world. He also encouraged young women to pursue skills that are “outside of the box” and not to limit themselves to traditional skills.
In her remarks, Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai emphasized that the training aspect which specifically focuses on solar installation and maintenance will tremendously support the rolling out of the solar panel distribution within the hinterland and riverine communities.
She said: “Our government is also going to embark very shortly in delivering to all the hinterland villages and riverine communities this time around solar panels. Our government has secured 35,000 solar panels so that every single household who do not get power or electricity from the regional or national grid will have a form of alternative green energy in their homes.”
Minister Sukhai added that the signing of the MOU is evidence of the Government’s commitment and efforts to enhance its human resource.