Graduates of the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) National Training Project for Youth Empowerment from the Port Kaituma, Matarkai Sub District, who graduated in cake decorating and garment construction, were encouraged to seek meaningful employment or become entrepreneurs to contribute to the economy.
BIT Board Member, Michael Turner, gave this encouragement at the graduation ceremony for the graduates over the weekend at the Port Kaituma Community Centre.
He explained to the graduates that BIT expends over a quarter of a billion dollars annually towards this kind of training. Therefore, this investment must enhance the capacity of Guyana’s workforce by enabling the graduates to not only gain employment but also to establish their own business.
“Training enables individuals to become productive citizens. This experience you have had must be taken to the next level and gain employment and eventually start our own business. Carve out your own niche, take your primary product to secondary value added products for exportation, and keep an open mind and become leaders,” Turner told the graduates.
Turning his attention to the role and purpose of BIT, Turner underlined that BIT came into existence in the early 20th century, with its focus on monitoring and regulating the work of its apprentices. The scope of BIT expanded around 2005 when the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment was introduced to cater for young people who are leaving school, were unable to find employment and those who were interested in working in formal organisations.
According to Turner, this programme has since improved the employment rate and provided a second chance for youths and adults who could not be in school due to their economic situation, but are interested in obtaining a certificate in order to gain employment.
Over the years BIT has seen over 216,000 individuals graduating in 21 vocational areas including the heavy duty equipment programme.In addition to the vocational training, life skills education, was added to BIT’s programme.
Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock, who was in the community at the time, stopped by the graduation ceremony and implored the graduates to add sustainability to their training and allow their skills to grow by helping others. He commended the graduates for taking the bold step of participating in the training.
“You are on the right track, with getting ready for employment when the opportunity arises. Indeed, appropriate education is crucial for the development of any community or individual. With communication you have information and information is knowledge and knowledge is power and with power you could be a powerful individual, community, region, that makes a powerful nation,” Minister Allicock said.
Technical Officer of BIT, Mohammed Shaheed, noted that a total of 16 persons have completed the training: with eight persons graduating in cake decorating and eight in garment construction.
He added that 21 trainees were oriented for training in heavy duty operation training programme, which will commence shortly. The Technical Officer, pledged BIT’s support for both more training in the community, and monitoring visits to see results from the training.
Regional Chairman, Matarkai, Neighbourhood Council (NDC), Orlando Thorne welcomed the training and congratulated the graduates. He noted that the NDC is proud of this accomplishment and also pledged to support future programmes.