By Kiana Wilburg
One hundred and twenty one Berbicians recently graduated from the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment (NYPYE), which is administered by the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).
The ceremony took place at the New Amsterdam Technical Institute.
In delivering remarks at the event, BIT Chairman, Clinton Williams expressed his pleasure at presenting the trainees with certificates that will enable them to enter the petroleum and agro-processing fields, among others.
Williams said that the Board has been partnering with numerous Public and Private Sector Companies for over 108 years, in the conduct of its renowned Apprenticeship Vocational Programmes. Within the last five years, he said that BIT has partnered with eight Service Providers or Masters and is responsible for training in excess of 500 apprentices.
Speaking to the history of the Programme, the BIT Chairman highlighted that it was launched in 2006 with the objective of providing competency based Technical and Vocational Education and Training and to fill the dire shortage of entry level technically skilled personnel for both the Private and Public Sector. He said that the current Administration has not only embraced but expanded the programme. In a sense, Williams said that the programme has enjoyed, and continues to enjoy, bipartisan support.
In addition to this, the BIT Chairman said that the NTYPE programmes are being delivered in all Regions of Guyana. He said that the programmes are designed to target vulnerable groups, such as, school drop outs and youths from depressed and/or Hinterland communities.
Starting with an approximate total of 570 graduates in 2005; the programme has grown tremendously over the years. Williams said it is expected that by the end of 2019, over 25,000 persons from various regions; would have graduated in areas relating to Engineering and Building trades, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Forestry, Home Economics, Health Services, etc.
Williams said, “We have been continually expanding our relationship with both Public and Private Sector facilitators with a view of optimizing the utilization of all available resources and facilities, such as five Government Technical Institutes and two Industrial Training Centres.” The Chairman also revealed that BI T has been in contact with international institutions such as the Islamic Development Bank to discuss possible assistance to expand the development of TVET Programmes in Secondary Schools.
Speaking to other achievements made by the Board, Williams said, “Since 2016, we have been collaborating with the Guyana Organization for Persons with Disabilities to provide vocational training to its members. To date, over 300 persons have graduated under this collaboration in the following disciplines: Computer Repairs, JAWS Training, Cosmetology, Computer Skills Training, Woodworking, Auto body Repairs, and Mechanical Repairs.”
He continued, “We expanded our partnership with the Ministry of the Presidency Department of Youth Empowerment to provide skills training for over 22 youths in Apiculture, as well as continuing to provide training in Heavy Duty Equipment Operation for another 30 youths. We also partnered with the Ministry of Natural Resources to implement its innovative Industrial Skills Training Enhancement Programme (IN-STEP). This project provided training for some 89 displaced workers, following the closure of a number of sugar estates.”
The Chairman added, “Similarly, we continued to intensify our alliance with the Office of the First Lady for the generation of over 200 skill sets in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for youths in the Hinterland Region, such as, St. Ignatius and other depressed communities.”
Additionally, during the last two years, Williams disclosed that over 75 persons from the Orealla/Siparuta, St. Monica and Kabakaburi villages were trained in Outboard and Small Engine Repairs, Boat Building, Block Making and Electrical Installation. Williams said that BIT considers these skills to be critical to the sustenance and empowerment of the youths within these remote communities.
Further to this, Williams said that BIT will continue to intensify the delivery of its technical and vocational skill trainings, with a view of addressing the skill demands, not only for the current dynamics but to encamp the requirements of emerging industries; such as, Oil and Gas, Clean Energy, Hydroponic Farming, Agro-processing, among others. In this regard, he highlighted that over 50 BIT graduates from both the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Program have gained employment in the Oil and Gas Sector.
In addition, the BIT Chairman said, “We plan to also expand our association to include those agencies responsible for the IDB funded Citizens Security Program and the Hinterland Youth Employment Service Programme to allow for better coordination among the formal and non-formal training institutions in order to reduce the high level of duplication in the delivery of many occupational skills training programme, while at the same time, increasing the focus on employment generation.”
He continued, “In this context, I am pleased to report that we have signed an agreement with the Basic Needs Trust Fund to train over 500 Youths in 2019, skills such as Solar Photovoltaic Systems Installation and Maintenance; Boat Building and Outboard Engine Maintenance. We shall strive also to come up with innovative mechanisms to influence more involvement and support from the local private sector in providing more ‘in-plant’ facilities and facilitators.”
Williams added, “There are also plans to review course content and curricula for our respective training programmes, to ensure relevance and value. This intervention is necessary, if we are to generate skills sets that are both technologically relevant and adaptable to the constantly changing workforce to ensure their expectations are achieved.
As regards quality and reliability, the BIT Chairman said that the entity will establish closer collaboration with the TVET Council towards the progressive implementation of competency based and entrepreneurial skills training with the ultimate goal of ensuring that all graduates are certified with the recognized National Vocational Qualification (NVQ), and ultimately, with the Regional Caricom Vocational Qualification (CVQ).
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