-Currently in talks with ExxonMobil
By Kiana Wilburg
Guyana’s educational institutions have been playing a critical role in training and preparing
individuals for the industrial sector.
One such institution that has been doing its part in this regard for 107 years is the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).
Speaking to Kaieteur News recently, Richard Maughn, Technical Officer at BIT, said that over the years, the entity has been responsible for the certification of trainees and the accreditation of companies in certain industries to be involved in technical training.
Maughn said that BIT would certify those companies as Masters and in turn, they would do the training for the students while BIT carries out the supervisory role for quality assurance purposes.
At the end of the training, the Technical Officer explained that BIT would issue the apprentice with a Certificate of Competency.
The official said that some of the companies that have been certified as Masters include the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the Guyana National Industrial Company (GNIC), and Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) among others.
Highlighting BIT’s relationship with GNIC as an example, Maughn said that the entity has been a crucial and important partner over the years.
“The main training programme for BIT would have been the Apprenticeship Programme which
is a four-year course. There is also a two-year training programme.”
He continued, “The Apprenticeship course that runs for two or four years, is very formal and provides you with the knowledge and scope you need for recognition in your field or area. In 2006, BIT started the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE). And like other organizations, GNIC would have been taking on youths for about six months and equipping them with the entry level skills they would need for the industrial sector.”
Maughn added, “But from 2006 to 2014, we realized that we were not attracting a lot of persons for the Apprenticeship system. In the review of our systems, we decided to encourage companies that are Masters to encourage trainees to at least advance or move on to the two-year training programme which is a little more formal and would make them more competent.”
The Technical Officer said that GNIC was quick to accept this proposition and has had candidates who successfully moved on from the six-month programme to the two-year training course.
GNIC’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Clinton Williams, who is also Chairman of BIT, related to Kaieteur News that for the years 2013 to 2016, a total of 7,568 occupational skills have been generated country-wide with an anticipated number of 1525 skills generated in 2016 by BIT.
The Chairman on the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) said, “This brings us to more than 22, 000 Tech-voc skills from the inception of the National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment programmes in 2006. These programmes are executed in all of the regions in Guyana.”
As regards the traditional “106-year-old” Apprenticeship programme, Williams said that 97 highly skilled craftsmen have been produced and the number of Masters (Apprenticeship Service Providers) has increased from five in 2013 to seven in 2016.
He said that the main skill profiles for which training was conducted were engineering, building construction, health services, home economics, ICT and forestry.
Williams noted, “We have in recent times, placed added emphasis on vulnerable groups such as school dropouts, youths from depressed communities , particularly those from the hinterland regions, single parents and the differently abled…We are convinced that that these would not only positively impact on employment generation, entrepreneurship and empowerment but also contribute to poverty alleviation and crime prevention.”
BRIDGING THE GAP
With the coming of Guyana’s oil and gas sector, the industrial sector will play an even greater role and much more will be asked of it.
BIT says it is up to the task. Specifically making this point was, Technical Officer at BIT, Richard Maughn.
Maughn cautioned that as a training organization, there are things that BIT would need to do to equip itself for the task since it does not possess the expertise as yet to train persons in this sector.
“It is something we are looking at and we are collaborating with other agencies such as the Council for TVET. We are in discussions in relation to formulating programmes that will suit that sector. But before we move to that, we need to understand what will be the specific occupational areas that individuals will need training in before we make any other move for working to design standards to treat those occupational areas,” the Technical Officer expressed.
Adding to that point, BIT’s Board Chairman, Clinton Williams said that BIT and the Council for TVET are working closely with US oil giant, ExxonMobil.
He said that this is being done to determine what are the entry level skills required for the sector, especially for the drilling and production phase. He said that it is also being pursued to determine input in terms of the conceptualization of the curriculum as well as providing inputs with respect to facilities and equipment to allow relevant agencies to be able to generate the skills needed for the sector.
THE WAY FORWARD
With regards to charting the way forward, the Chairman indicated that BIT intends to ensure that there is continuous improvement of TECHVOC Programmes by reviewing and prioritizing the following core elements:
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