Fourteen youths yesterday graduated from a training programme, which aims to tackle the issues of uneducated youths, underemployment and the growing needs of the forestry sector, at the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) Multiplex building in Kingston.
The programme, which is founded by the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) in collaboration with the GFC, is intended to train 3,000 persons this year with 300 persons being trained specifically for the forestry sector, said Clinton Williams, who is Chairman of the BIT Board and a member of the Board of Directors of the GFC.
He said that the programme is critical for the youths of Guyana. Williams, one of the main forces pushing the initiative, said that the programme which commenced in 2006 has trained approximately 7,000 persons up to the year 2012. In this programme, trainees were paid an allowance which included cost for transportation and other necessities. He added that 200 applicants have already been sent to the commission.
He also mentioned that the programme includes labour and competency training and it also strives for safety.
Minister of Labour, Dr Nanda Gopaul mentioned that he was very pleased with the type of collaborative effort the BIT and Forestry Training Centre Incorporated (FTCI) has produced.
“We don’t want school dropouts to be left without a skill,” stated Gopaul. “Every unemployed youth can gain employment if they obtain skills,” he added. He said that the involvement of youths in the programme was needed and the initiative should be tackled aggressively.
As the 14 graduates received certificates yesterday, another 25 persons began the training.
Robert Persaud, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment said that the impact the programme has is that it does not only respond to the skills that are needed but it plans ahead.
The programme will develop a workforce that is trained and will be able to satisfy the needs of the forestry sector, stated Persaud. With the increasing demand for skills and personnel, the programme will also be able to train persons to provide staff for different sectors of the economy.
“We have to ensure we train our people properly,” Persaud said, while adding that the training will deal with the issue of underemployment.
The training, he stated, will satisfy the growing needs of the forestry sector, which he sees as a very important stepping stone.