2000 students to benefit from One Guyana Digital Initiative

– also aimed to create 300,000 jobs in tech sector

In a monumental move to empower Guyanese youths with advanced Information Technology (IT) education and lucrative employment opportunities, Guyana launched its One Guyana Digital Initiative, a groundbreaking Nearshore Training Programme.
This initiative not only promises to revolutionise the nation’s digital landscape but also aims to bring significant economic growth by creating over 300,000 jobs in the tech sector, tailored specifically for Guyanese developers.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

At the heart of this initiative lies the goal of providing 2000 Guyanese students with comprehensive IT training, equipping them with cutting-edge coding languages and skills essential for thriving in today’s digital economy free of cost.
Speaking at the launch on Sunday afternoon at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), the Managing Director of the One Guyana Digital initiative, Mark Itwaroo, said that he has worked very hard to create a course that did not exist anywhere else in the world.
“This course will teach qualified applicants not to just program or the basic in computer programming but will educate the participants in cutting-edge programming languages… for the first time in a university level course, it will teach programmers how to use artificial intelligence to write codes… it is important, because I want the graduates from Guyana to have a strategic advantage over everybody else when they are competing for jobs internationally,” he said.

Canada’s Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen

The programme, funded by CAD 9.5 million offers participants a chance to delve into live and online classes, facilitated by Toronto Metropolitan University.
Local Government and Regional Development Minister Sonia Parag emphasised that the initiative targeted the youth of Guyana, positioning them as catalysts for national progress. She highlighted the programme’s alignment with the GOAL initiative, launched in 2021, which successfully qualified 21,442 Guyanese students in 2023.
Graduates of the Nearshore Training Programme are guaranteed employment opportunities, with a focus on website and app development, aligning with the nation’s digital transformation agenda.

Managing Director of the One Guyana Digital initiative, Mark Itwaroo

“We are going to propel this nation forward… we have expended a kind of energy and we are driven by what we want our Guyana to look like…having this programme on board allows young Guyanese to develop technology and their digital skills…”, Minister Parag stated.
Canada’s Minister of International Development, Ahmed Hussen, during his address, emphasised that this innovative skills training programme aimed to propel young Guyanese individuals into rewarding careers within the burgeoning digital skills technology sector.
Minister Hussen commended the Guyana Government for the inclusive nature of this endeavour, a value he highlighted as central to Canadian Government policies.
“It is really important for us to give credit to the fact that the One Guyana Digital Initiative is committed to ensuring that there will be gender parity between young men and young women in this project. The One Guyana Digital Initiative will also make sure that it includes representation from a diverse cross-section of Guyanese communities including young people, Indigenous peoples, and peoples from remote parts of Guyana,” he noted.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Sonia Parag

Furthermore, the Canadian Minister highlighted that beyond fostering youth skill development, the initiative had a forward-looking perspective. It is poised to combat unemployment and alleviate poverty within the country.
Meanwhile, President Dr Irfaan Ali, during his time at the microphone, revealed that over 60 per cent of the applicants for the programme are women, while 20 per cent are indigenous Guyanese.
This diversity underscores the inclusivity of the Initiative, offering opportunities to underrepresented groups.
He also stated that negotiations secured a special rate of US$20 million for training the 2000 students at Toronto Metropolitan University, significantly reducing the costs that would have otherwise been borne by participants.
“This is the celebration of the relationship between Guyana and Canada… if you would have done this programme on your own, it would have cost you 10,000 USD… this is an investment we are making in you. We are making this investment for you, because we want you to live a higher quality life,” the President explained.
The programme not only addresses the skills gap in the tech industry but also catalyses socio-economic development. Participants, aged 17 and older, will receive laptops and free tuition, courtesy of the Government of Guyana and Canadian assistance. Upon completion, graduates can expect well-paying careers, with starting salaries of at least US$25,000 per year, providing a pathway to financial stability and prosperity.
President Ali also highlighted the Government’s efforts to migrate essential services to digital platforms, streamlining processes and enhancing accessibility for citizens. This transition signifies a pivotal moment in Guyana’s digital evolution, promising a future of efficiency and innovation.
“This is coming at a critical time when there is a transformation of the country. We are moving towards digitalisation; we are moving towards a system of governance to remove a lot of the bureaucracy because the Government system must be system-based that must work,” he said.
With applications open to Guyanese citizens aged 17 and older, the nearshore training programme invites individuals from all walks of life, including those from Indigenous communities, to register and embark on a transformative journey towards a thriving career in technology.
One can register for the course at oneguyanadigital.com, marking the beginning of a new era of opportunity and progress for Guyana’s youth.