GMSA using targeted training programmes for skill & labour shortages

…says partnering with UWI to help fill gaps in manufacturing

In light of the often-referenced labour shortages in the country, a situation that has also affected the manufacturing sector, the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) has revealed that it is pushing for targeted training programmes to alleviate the situation.
In its 2023 Annual Report, the GMSA noted the importance of education, placing it on par with trade facilitation. They recalled that they previously met with representatives of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill School of Business and Management, where they discussed ways in which education can be used to alleviate skills shortage.

GMSA President, Ramsay Ali

“Currently, there is a massive skill and labour shortage in Guyana. This shortage hinders the growth of industries and limits the country’s overall economic potential. In an effort to remedy this challenge, we met with representatives of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill School of Business and Management to discuss training needs in the manufacturing sector.”
“We agreed that research is first needed to identify the specific skills and knowledge gaps within industries. By conducting this research, targeted training programmes will be developed to equip individuals with the necessary skills to fill the labour shortage,” the association further explained.
The association explained that by doing this, they will not only play their part in helping to develop the manufacturing sector, but also other industries in Guyana. They noted that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to this effect was even signed after the meeting.
“This will not only benefit the manufacturing sector but also other industries in Guyana. Additionally, the collaboration with the University of the West Indies will ensure that the training programmes are of high quality and align with international standards,” GMSA further said.
Earlier this year, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Paloma Mohamed- Martin, had disclosed that the institution plans to expand its Faculty of Engineering and Technology this year, in an effort to train more Guyanese to address the skills gap.
This is in light of the fact that the local demand for engineers has doubled over the last three years, and is expected to be tripled in 2024. According to Mohamed-Martin, the university recently had its highest number of graduates in the engineering sector, representing a 72 per cent increase in the last six years. This included the first batch of petroleum engineering graduates.
However, the number of persons entering the local workforce is relatively low, given that a large number of engineering students are taking up jobs within the international private sector. Martin explained that this is severely affecting local industries.
“We have tripled the number of engineers we were producing since 2020 but still that’s not enough, because they’re getting absorbed before they graduate into the international private sector, and the local private sector is losing them, the Government sector is losing them; and, of course, UG is also losing our own people that we are employing,” Martin had stated.
Martin had further said that, the university is working assiduously to tackle this issue in 2024, and this will be done in a comprehensive manner that would benefit the local, regional and international labour markets.
Further, the University will be implementing an Immersive Virtual Reality training programme for engineering students at its Tain Campus in Berbice this year. This initiative would allow students to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a tool for leaning, rather than having to travel to the Georgetown Campus weekly to manually do labs.
In the latter part of 2023, the University of Guyana, in collaboration with the Greater Guyana Initiative, turned sod for the construction of a US$2.25 million building to service thousands of students looking to develop careers in science, technology, and engineering.
The 15,000 square feet of new space would house the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Faculty of Earth and Environment Sciences. Slated for completion in July, the facility comprises a conference room, classrooms, offices, and laboratories. It also caters for the extension and rehabilitation of existing labs within the Faculty of Engineering and Technology. (G3)