At least thirty young Guyanese from various local communities will shortly be experiencing a novel learning opportunity designed to equip them with skills that will open up possible employment opportunities in the country’s mining and oil and gas sectors.
Stabroek Business has learnt that the recently established Institute of Engineer-ing, Geophysics & Offshore Development Services will shortly commence the delivery of a specialized programme in disciplines related to those sectors to a group of students benefitting from funding provided under the Ministry of Education’s Youth Innovation Programme of Guyana. (YIPOG).
Under the YPIOG initiative the Education Ministry had issued invitations for the submission of proposals highlighting community/societal challenges along with innovative solutions to the challenges highlighted.
The submission to the Education Ministry by local youth leader and former University of Guyana Student Society President Joshua Griffith and which secured a $1 million grant from the Ministry had as its focus the provision of training that is directly relevant to providing skills to a sector that is directly relevant to Guyana’s economic direction.
Earlier this week Stabroek Business spoke with Australian-trained local Geologist John Applewhite-Hercules who will be delivering the training within the local Institute. The programme, Applewhite-Hercules said, will engage secondary school graduates and other young people interested in skills that can open doors to job opportunities and will be seeking “to develop a pool of such skills that will align youth potential to opportunities that will arise in the emerging oil and gas, engineering and mining sectors.” Applewhite-Hercules told Stabroek Business that there is already a need for competencies in the mining sector in a range of skills including the reading and interpretation of geophysical, geological and mineral exploration maps, GPS navigation skills, and software application skills. “What the programme will offer is a new academic adventure for young people that fits in with job opportunities that are available now and will be available in the future,” Applewhite-Hercules said.
Over the duration of the six-week programme the students will be exposed to training that will enable them to learn to read mineral exploration and topographic maps as well as how to utilize GPS technology to find locations on the ground and correlate those locations to positions on maps.
Applewhite-Hercules told Stabroek Business that the training programme will also be focusing on the use of QGIS software which he said was important in the identification of biodiversity, protected areas, national parks, and mining areas. He said that as much as half of the programme will focus on these areas.
“The other half will have a bearing on our oil and gas sector and will take account of issues like seismic exploration and geophysical methods. One of the aims of this particular focus is to facilitate a basic understanding of oil and gas exploration.” Applewhite told Stabroek Business that he was keen to begin to provide a curriculum which is not yet part of the secondary school curriculum or the curriculum in our local technical institutions. “Our programme will deal with tools for oil exploration, remote sensing and geophysical methods.”
And according to Applewhite-Hercules the programme will seek, as its objective, to equip the trainees to be absorbed into some form of gainful employment. “I believe that we may well be able to train them to the level where they are competent to function in Field Assistants in the mining sector in the first instance. They will become familiar with the mining sector as well as with some “upstream aspects” of the oil and gas sector.”