Jul 02, 2018 News
Fifty-nine graduates of the Sophia Training Centre were on Friday last challenged to choose change in order to grow.
“You have to choose to change if you don’t change you won’t grow. Change is the one thing that is constant. Things will change and as you start to move, the path will appear as to where you want to go,” Ministry of the Presidency staffer, Shondell France told the graduates.
The graduates are all beneficiaries of the Citizens Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) skills training programme, 2017-2018.
The training was facilitated under component one of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funded programme aimed at reducing recidivism and strengthening community resilience to crime and violence. The students were tutored in Catering, Information Technology and Office Administration, Masonry Plumbing and Sheet metal and Welding, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, and Fabrication.
Speaking of the challenges she overcame – growing up in poverty with a drug-addicted foster father from whom her mother eventually fled in the middle of the night taking her children with her – France assured the graduates that the cycle of poverty can be broken.
“Commit to constantly improving yourself, invest in yourself, make the small changes. Surround yourself with people who are going where you want to go, choose to change.”
In addition, France encouraged the graduates to take responsibility for events occurring in their lives and to be willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals. She also charged them to assist others as they break the circle of poverty.
The feature address and charge to the newly certified artisans was delivered by Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan who noted that programmes similar to CSSP have helped to reduce crime and violence amongst youths in other countries.
The Public Security Minister noted that the responsibility of reducing crime and violence, especially at the youth level, should not be shouldered by the police alone. He added that there must be a social component, a programme that ensures young men and women from vulnerable communities come forward and get vocational training,” the Public Security Minister under whose purview the CSSP is situated said.
In addition, Minister Ramjattan charged the graduates to continue to improve and develop their skills, which he said will be in high demand as Guyana becomes an oil-producing nation.
“You must now realise, that it is at the individual level, that you must endeavour to read more, to continue asking questions of the professionals so that you can learn more. Do not feel that the training is the end, there is so much more to learn. We cannot have monies coming in and an unskilled and unprepared workforce. More people will certainly buy refrigerators, more people will have air-conditioned homes and all of that … so we have to ensure now there is a workforce that will allow for qualified persons to compete for those jobs that will come on stream,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Mariko Russel on behalf of Sophie Makonnen, IDB representative, said, “Our hope is that students graduating today will be able to use the newly acquired skills in their future endeavours in life we are aware that merely receiving vocational training does not guarantee obtaining employment.
“Having said that, the fact that the students who are graduating today, remained in the programme until graduation is an achievement in itself and is a start in the right direction.” She further recognised the graduating class as the “memorable first batch” of the CSSP, which the Ministry of Public Security implemented with funding from the IDB.
Special awards were given to best graduating student Avinash Seepaul, second runner-up Ezekiel Roache and more than a dozen other trainees for their outstanding performances in the various areas of training.
There were cultural presentations from a graduate of the institution Ruth Belle, tutor Mark Luke Edwards and the graduating class of 2017 -2018.
The training programme commenced September 2, 2017, with 87 youths from Regions One, Three and Four.
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