The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is forging ahead with training for employees who have been made redundant at its estates.
Some 47 workers from Enmore Estate graduated from a five-day training course in Catering and Sewing, a government release said Saturday.
“The training course, conducted by the Ruimveldt Life Improvement Centre, will equip workers from the Enmore Sugar Estate with the necessary skills for alternative employment following their redundancy come December 29, 2017.”
Enmore estate’s Manager, Curbette Victorine, explained that “the training provided is a promise made by GuySuCo, to empower its employees when the restructuring of the sugar company occurs.”
In addition to the Ruimveldt Life Improvement Centre, the Small Business Bureau is supporting the initiative.
Victorine noted that the idea is not to make workers redundant, but to give employees a life after sugar. He added that the training provided is a great start to that process.
“I believe, and strongly so, that this is a start. I know that it is a great start because the talent that was exposed over the past five days does indicate that you have creativity, you have a sense of where you want to go, and that entrepreneurial spirit seems to reside in this group.”
The training programme is a pilot effort and will continue until every employee who is interested in acquiring a skill is proficient in that specific area of interest, as more skills training will be added for the next batch, the official disclosed.
By 2020, GuySuCo aims to reduce its work force to 10,000 workers, about 6,000 fewer than it currently has.
The corporation is targeting 150,000 tonnes of sugar annually in the next three years from the estates that would be kept in operation – Albion and Blairmont in Berbice and Uitvlugt, on West Coast Demerara.
GuySuCo believes that the operations at these factories would be able to meet the demands of markets locally, in the Caribbean and further afield. In addition to selling raw sugar, the GuySuCo is looking at value-added sugars and providing electricity to the national grid through co-generation.
The state-owned entity has been racking up major losses in more than a decade, with billions of dollars needed annually in bailouts to pay workers and creditors.
The administration has started a privatisation and divestment process at not only Enmore, but at Skeldon and Rose Hall in Berbice, and Wales, West Bank Demerara.
Almost 70 expressions of interest in managing the estates have been received from local and overseas businesses.
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