The Guyana Mining School and Training Centre’s started its first training session last week and even as stakeholders welcomed the initiative they hoped that the curriculum would feature topics that are relevant to small miners.

The school opened on Thursday with the first batch of 15 students enrolled in courses such as confined space entry (awareness,) transportation of dangerous goods, fall protection and workplace hazardous materials information system, a report from the Government Information Agency (GINA) said.

The programme is being facilitated by trainers from the Canadian College of the North Atlantic.

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Persaud formally launched the five-day training session at the Guyana Forestry Commission’s Multi-Complex building in Kingston. Persaud said while the school has started implementing its programme, the next step will be ensuring that it is adequately staffed, develop the curriculum and possible linkages between the school and other existing facilities.

He also said that efforts will be made to improve the quality of the University of Guyana’s mining programme. Persaud noted that though the collaborative training is costly, it is an investment that government is committed to undertaking because of the benefits that would accrue to the natural resources sector.

“… It is building the capacity, it is also allowing us, as it were, to catch up with the technological changes, the expansion, but also preparing us for the future,” he said. Persaud also pointed out that the school’s training programmes will ensure Guyana’s preparedness as the sector expands, noting that in its dealing with investors in the oil and gas sector government had stipulated that locals must be involved in these projects. He then expressed gratitude to the Canadian High Commission and the College of the North Atlantic for supporting the programme. He noted that the latter’s experience will add value to the standard of training and ensure that a world class product is delivered.

Commissioner (ag) Guyana Geology and Mines Commission Rickford Vieira said it is expected that the school will help to shape the sector by focusing on the importance of commercial best practices.

“The sector has evolved, and therefore, we must provide competent persons, to rise to the challenges posed by the sector,” he said, adding that the intervention was “well timed.”

Meanwhile, Representative of the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners’ Association William Woolford said the association welcomed the initiative. He then pointed out that there is a need for training for small and medium scale operators and hoped that the curriculum would feature topics that are relevant to these operators.

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