Govt correcting lack of skilled personnel countrywide – Minister Hamilton
The PPP/C Administration has taken a decision to address the lack of skilled personnel countrywide, specifically to meet the labour demands of the nation’s booming oil and gas sector.
Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton said Guyana has already seen significant investments into the Board of Industrial Training (BIT), which he confidently expressed will bring forth salient technical expertise.
Speaking to residents at separate meetings in Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region Two) over the weekend, Minister Hamilton explained that is important for the courses to be rolled out now, since the previous Government did not upskill the populace in technical areas.
About three weeks ago, the Minister led a team to Bartica, Region Seven, where a building which he noted was established as a skill resource centre under the then President Bharrat Jagdeo, was not being utilised.
During an engagement with the private sector community in East Berbice-Corentyne, it was disclosed that the county had no mechanics, although the region consists of two technical institutes.
The Minister added that a month ago while assessing the output performance data nationwide, he found that a premier technical institute only trained eight welders and fabricators in 2021.
“In a country that found oil in 2015 and started to produce in 2019, one of the skills set that is most needed in oil and gas is welding and fabrication, that is one of the engines, but yet but somebody is still sleeping.”
With some $20.5 million being exhausted in 2021, only 15 heavy-duty equipment operators were trained.
“How do you talk about development, building new roads, cutting canals to deal with climate change, opening new lands, housing development and in 12 months all you can deliver is 15 heavy-duty equipment operators?” the Minister emphasised.
He said the Labour Ministry, through BIT, has made significant strides to correct the issue of technical training, noting that it has even moved towards partnering with the private sector, the Guyana Police Force and the Ministry of Education, to drive the upskilling agenda.
Additionally, BIT launched its website in 2021 to allow online applications for the relevant skills course. Over 90 persons have visited the website and more than 5000 people have submitted their applications for skills training on the same platform since the launch.
Over 3000 persons were trained in various classifications of occupational skill training such as small engine repairs, refrigeration and air conditioner repairs, introduction to photovoltaic systems, solar installation, maintenance and repairs, electrical installation and computer repairs.
The BIT has been allocated some $450 million in 2022.