Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir and a team of ministry officials on Monday opened a $1M, eight-week training workshop in Kwakwani to benefit 30 women
The workshop was the fulfilment of a commitment the minister had made to residents who had requested assistance with tuition for classes in Information Technology and Office Procedures during a previous cabinet outreach exercise. According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the programme was launched at the Kwakwani Primary School with an audience comprising 150 persons. It is being administered by the Women’s Affairs Bureau and the Guyana Women’s Leadership Institute (GWLI), under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security.
In his address Nadir, on behalf of Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Priya Manickchand, noted that government is committed to ensuring that all persons are given an opportunity to access education and training. He noted that there has been rapid progress in developing the opportunities for employment. “The goal is to ensure that when jobs are available, they can be filled by people from within the community,” he said. Participants will also benefit from a quality course which includes English and Mathematics.
Nadir also noted that the skills and resources for the current training programme are coming from within Kwakwani. Facilitators were not imported instead the team comprised Assistant Regional Executive Officer Devon Bremmer and teachers from the Kwakwani Primary School. Nadir encouraged students to be cognizant of the importance of fractions and formulas in understanding various computer programmes, including Microsoft Excel. He also told them that the duties of an administrative officer are no longer limited to the traditional typing responsibilities.
The minister said that he remains hopeful that there can be ongoing skills training in Kwakwani. He said too the names of graduates will be forwarded to employers within the town.
According to GINA, head master of the Kwakwani Primary School Lekhraj Khemraj volunteered the use of the school’s IT laboratory, a facility outfitted with 15 computers through the Basic Education Access Management Support project. Nadir acknowledged the gesture, noting that it is government’s policy that all public buildings must be used in the public interest.
Additionally, Permanent Secretary at the ministry Trevor Thomas in his address, urged the participants to do their best to empower themselves and to take full advantage of the tools, opportunities and facilities that government is providing because, “while this programme is free, it is not cheap.” He cautioned against wasting the opportunity, noting that work is ongoing countrywide to improve the lives of citizens, and as such they must exercise discipline and diligence and complete the programme which aims to equip them to have a sustainable livelihood within and without Kwakwani.
Hymwattie Lagan, administrator of WAB and Sheila Verasammy, administrator of the GWLI, also attended the opening, the release said. GINA said the GWLI emerged from a 1997 initiative to provide education training for women, early school leavers and teenaged mothers. The Institute, located at 1 Public Road, Cove and John hosts programmes in a number of subjects in hinterland, rural and urban communities countrywide. Participants are also trained in information technology to ensure that they are computer literate.
According to Nadir there are about 2500 early school leavers annually and as such the programme has been geared to ensure that “no child will be lost or left to languish and, with the anti-child labour campaign, anyone found with an employee below the legal working age will be prosecuted.”