In the light of the increased crime rate, the Guyana Police Force’s ‘D’ Division has begun a strategic plan, targeting youth, especially the unemployed and school dropouts in the region, to equip them with life skills.
At an orientation which was held at the Leonora Technical and Vocational Skills Training Centre, on Wednesday, close to 70 youth were present, eager to benefit from the six weeks training in areas such as plumbing, auto mechanics, welding, information technology, carpentry amongst others.
The initiative, according to Commander of ‘D’ Division Stephen Mansell, was birthed after he observed the many youngsters who would be idling on the street corners.
It is also a strategy used to fight crime and offer empowerment to the youth in the region. “We are basically teaching them to fish for a lifetime,” the commander said.
The Senior Superinten-dent who recently replaced Marlon Chapman as Commander of the division was instrumental in the conception of the C-PETS Project – creating positive environments through safer communities and partnership a year ago.
Classes in cookery are also being offered to interested persons desirous of learning to cook and bake.
This training is provided free of cost by Madina Restaurant in Zeeburg, West Coast Demerara.
Mansell, passionate about his job and zealous about empowering the young generation, began visits to various communities two weeks ago where he met residents and religious leaders and shared his vision.
Several religious bodies have since combined forces with the police along with the principal and teachers of the technical institute, with the hope of bringing transformation to the region and Guyana through education.
Addressing the gathering of young people and some parents the commander urged the prospective beneficiaries of the training programmes to grasp every opportunity offered to prepare them for a lifetime of benefits.
The training is geared to making the students marketable, independent and financially stable, Mansell said.
He also encouraged them to be determined to achieve success and not to allow anything that will bring discouragement, resulting in persons wanting to drop-out.
The programmes are all slated to begin on July 20 and will run for six weeks, after which the students can then enrol at the technical institute to begin studies in the one year certificate programmes, the commander explained.
The programmes are self-monitoring, meaning that students will not be pressured to compete with colleagues but will be assessed upon their request.
Tests and examinations have been replaced by an assessment.
The courses are offered in full-time and part-time packages and do not require any previous educational certificate or experience.
Principal of the institution, Eon Nicholson, is also enthusiastic about the initiative and he admonished the gathering to be unwavering in their pursuit of education, since everyone is responsible for their own success.
The skills training offered presents a second chance for a successful life, the educator noted.
The gathering was also addressed by Assistant Chief Education Officer Patrick Chimedu Onwuzirike, who explained that the programmes are competency based and internationally recognized.
“You can take your certificate to any part of the world and gain employment,” he said, noting the credibility of the certification which is recognized internationally.
Some of the countries that will accept the certificate are Australia, Canada, the United States and the UK amongst many others, the Education officer stated.
Challenges faced by students are never strange or too difficult for the administrators to handle, he added, as he told of a story of a student who used to be consistently collected by the police for different crimes, but through dedication and determination, the man is now a professional in his field after he successfully completed his studies in a technical institution.
Possessing skills, means you have opportunities, the officer noted, as he declared “if we don’t develop the youths to take Guyana to where it needs to be, we might lose it all.”
Owner of Madina Restaurant Halim Khan, also welcomed the initiative as he expressed hope of the communities being transformed since many of the nation’s youths were previously neglected.
For the six weeks programmes, the police force will provide transportation free to the students who will be coming from the West Bank, but there will be specific pick-up points, Mansell said.