The Government Technical Institute (GTI) is collaborating with three Canadian universities—Durham College, College of North Atlantic and the Marine Institute—to introduce a new course in auto electronics from September this year.
The initiative, GTI’s Acting Principal Renita Crandon-Duncan told Stabroek Business earlier this week, is designed to continue to reflect the relevance of the institution as a facility that seeks to keep Guyana abreast of relevant technology. According to the Crandon-Duncan, the initiative seeks to respond to the continuing emergence of new auto technology and the scarcity of skills to respond to what, often, are the complex electronics-related issues that arise in the servicing and repairing of the vehicles.
The initiative, she says, is intended for region-wide implementation but is being piloted by Guyana under the Caricom for Education and Employment Project. Guyana has been chosen to pilot the Automotive Electronics programme component of the project which, once certified by the Caribbean Association of National Training Agencies (CANTA) will be introduced in the various other territories in the region.
The programme comprises three levels though, up until now, only the first level has secured the approval of the local Council for Technical and Vocational Education.
Some amount of training and orientation in preparation for the commencement of the programme has taken place in both Guyana and Canada. In 2016, a team from the GTI including two lecturers from the engineering faculty did a stint at Durham College to secure insights into the programme. The costs associated with the training programme will be funded by the Canadian institutions.
Crandon-Duncan said that in June personnel from the three Canadian institutions will visit Guyana to engage staff of the institute.
Conceptually, the programme is modelled along the lines of a competency-driven approach known as the Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) programme. The approach acknowledges that a number of experienced persons in their respective fields cannot attend classes and continue to be uncertified. The GTI is currently developing methodology for facilitating certification for such persons. The approach is expected to include paying visits to workplaces and providing credits for work being done or work that has been done by the skilled technicians. The certification criteria is expected to be fully developed by next year.
Meanwhile, the Acting Principal told Stabroek Business that the GTI will shortly be collaborating with the Nykoping Gymnasium School in Sweden to undertake an exchange programme that will allow for the two institutions to familiarize themselves with the furniture-making techniques being used in the two countries. In October representatives of the GTI travelled to Sweden to finalize the execution of the programme.
Crandon-Duncan said that the GTI’s programmes continue to be well-subscribed and that levels of enrolment for the various programmes vary from year to year. She said that in 2014 there was a significant demand for courses focusing on the repairs and maintenance of agricultural machinery whilst in 2015 the numbers enrolling for courses in vehicle repairs increased.
She said GTI’s graduation exercises continue to be well-attended by private sector officials who are on the lookout for GTI graduates to join their workforce. Accordingly, the institution has been encouraging students to attend the graduation exercises since these had become recruiting grounds for skills.
GTI graduates are also exposed to post-graduation one-month public and private sector attachments which also provide prospects for recruitment to permanent jobs.
The institute’s Welfare Officer Alero Proctor told this newspaper that there continued to be a successful collaborative relationship with the private sector. The institute is in partnership with about 30 businesses and the number of student attachments had risen from 47 in 2013 to 325 in 2015.