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GMSTCI Collaborates with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Ministry of Culture Youth and Sport and Guyana National Bureau of Standards to Launch Jewellery Making Course.
Location: E. R. Burrowes School of Art, Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown, Guyana.
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 Ave. 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 Trainee
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.
Comments and Feedback of Staff and Students Name: Ms Deborah Phillipe Designation: Instructor and Gemmologist
Question: What will be covered in the course?
Answer: It is expected that for the course duration, trainees will be instructed in various techniques and skills in jewellery making; these include how to make earring findings and hooks as well as carving, forging, texturing, and setting stones.
Question: What are your expected outcomes for students who complete the course?
Answer: It is expected that graduands of the course will be able to craft jewellery with improved finish quality that can be competitive worldwide. Also that students will leave the course with a high sense of enthusiasm for the craft that will translate into increased production and creativity.
Name: Ms Suzie Wong-Yip
Designation: Student and 55-year-old retired electrician
Question: What are you hoping to gain from this course?
Answer: I am very interested in starting my own jewellery practice. I have always loved working with my hands, and I am hoping to start a new using the skills I will learn from this course. I see this as my retirement plan.
Name: Malena Outar
Designation: Jeweller Apprentice (21 years old)
Question: What are you hoping to get out of this course?
Answer: My family owns a goldsmith business, and I expect to learn the skills necessary to continue this business. I already have a lot of hands-on practical experience, but I am hoping that through this course, I will have the technical skills to better my craft and certify myself.