23 youths on heavy duty equipment operator training at GuySuCo
BIT trainees pose with their certificates. Also in photo are BIT officials.
Government in ensuring that demands for labour are met has embarked on a heavy-duty equipment operator training programme through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).
Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir has noted that though the number is small, it is significant in that it signals a number of achievements and a number of firsts in the country. He said there is no other formal training programme for heavy-duty operators and those who complete the training will be certified by BIT and be provided with police clearance and licences.
Minister Nadir said that all trainees will be tested and must pass the exams that will be conducted by certified police officers. He pointed out that this is the first time there is collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government for industrial training and it falls under the Enhanced Trust, Security and Inclusion Project at a cost of US$6M over a three-year period.
A benefit of this collaboration will see each trainee being given a monthly stipend of $20,000 for accommodation away from their respective homes during their attachment and an additional $4,000. The UNDP funding will significantly increase the chances of the trainees finding jobs.
Minister Nadir urged the trainees to adhere to the safety protocol at all times, observing that to be reckless will result in injury, death and high replacement costs.
Didier Trebucq, Deputy Resident representative of UNDP, noted, “UNDP has always placed the importance of empowering youth at the forefront of its activities in Guyana and elsewhere.”
He pointed out that “giving young people the skills they need to face the challenges of their future life and the participation of youths in positive and productive activities, indeed contribute to the development of the community and to building cohesion”. Trebucq said it is his hope that they can build on this and future empowerment for youth, and for communities.
Raymond Sankster, General Manager, GuySuco, said that they are thankful to BIT for conducting the training, noting that the corporation is the largest employer in the Caribbean with the widest range of machinery. However, there is a shortage of labour and it is his hope that the company will benefit tremendously from the programme. Sankster noted that GuySuCo recently switched to mechanical harvesting, not with the intention of replacing manual labour, but rather to supplement it, and as such he encouraged the youths to seek employment with the company upon completion of their training.
Rishi Sookram, GuySuCo’s Regional Director, said the company is going through a rehabilitation of its production process with the aim of increasing production and productivity. To do this, there is a need to have all of their heavy-duty equipment operating to save cost. He said there is a shortage of skills in Demerara; as such the trainees will be assigned to the West Demerara estates.
Michael Turner, Principal of the Linden Technical Institute, where the persons were trained, said the idea came about as a result of a lack of trained operators. The programme began in January with the first two batches of 40 youths who had to undergo 60 hours of life skills education, 40 hours of maintenance training (both theoretical and practical) and 180 hours of actual practice. He noted that the trainees were able to work vehicles in actual job situations such as levelling of sand and road grading.
Another batch of 40 is currently in training and a similar number drawn from Linden and the Amerindian communities should begin training by October.
Over $45M has been spent on the training programme and the continuous financial outpouring by the administration shows a strong commitment to ensuring its underprivileged youths and single parents are given an opportunity to improve their situation.
By the end of August 2009, over 1100 youths would have graduated from the programme, twice last year’s figure.
The programme has expanded to include training in areas that have previously been unexplored, such as information technology and office training. The sum of $9M was spent on acquiring excavation and other equipment.
Over 100 persons are in training in Linden and this points to an oversubscription of the programme. Those trainees are taken in batches of 20 with aspects of training being rotated and at the end of August, the first 40 will complete the training. (GINA)
Source: Guyana Chronicle