The Board of Industrial Training (BIT) has accepted the challenge of Minister Volda Lawrence
to take its training programme to remote locations. Among those to benefit are residents of Mahdia.
The Ministry of Social Protection, through BIT, launched the Heavy Duty Equipment Operators’ Training Programme at Mahdia last weekend. Some 30 youths are being trained in the initial batch, and are expected to graduate in December.
“I want to appeal to BIT to extend its outreach programme into the far-flung communities as we anticipate that the need for Heavy Duty Equipment Training will increase as projects and construction works intensify,” the Social Protection Minister had challenged the Board.
Minister Lawrence told those gathered at the launch that this is part of President David Granger’s vision for Mahdia, to see development taken to the region. “Today the time for Mahdia has come…Let’s take this opportunity. While we give you this as a government, your responsibility is to yourself and your region to ensure you are successful,” she said.
The Minister expressed pleasure that several women are among the trainees. “This is what Guyana is about – gender equality. Let’s work together for a better Guyana. Step up to the plate because you can do it. Don’t let gender be a barrier. Go out there and take charge of your learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because you are in the environment for learning.”
Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott, told the trainees that their presence is reflective of the government’s commitment to ensure that “youths are at the front burner. You are future leaders who will give back to your community.”
Similar encouragement was given by Regional Chairman Bonaventure Fredericks. Among those present at the launching ceremony were Chief Executive Officer of BIT, Maria Khelawan; Shameer Arjoon, and Assistant
Regional Executive Officer, Tottil Saygon.
The Heavy Equipment Operators’ Training Programme has its genesis in 2013 when the Guyana Sugar Corporation Limited made the request of BIT to address their emerging crucial attrition needs, resulting from the exodus of their operators to the lucrative gold mining sector.
Since then, the programme gained traction and quickly assumed the status of the premier skill development activity among the other skill sets within the National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment (NTYPE) Project.
At present it is offered in five Administrative Regions. During the prtogramme that ended last year, 252 persons were trained. Most of them are now employed. BIT has plans to have 135 persons trained this year, and 300 in 2017.
BIT executes the training programme in a manner that facilitates “training by doing” and as such many of the graduates are school dropouts, youths from disadvantaged communities and those who did not fear well in their secondary school examination.
The graduates have been able to secure high paying jobs in critical sectors, such as Public Infrastructure (Roads, Bridges, Drainage and Irrigation), Mining and Quarrying, Forestry, Agriculture, and Housing.The Board has been conducting the Heavy Duty Equipment operators’ Training for members of the Guyana Police Force as well.
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