Minister of Public Affairs, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams, has publicly announced that government is committed to reviewing and discussing policies aimed at increasing the number of qualified persons with disabilities in the workforce. The Minister was at the time delivering her charge to the 108 graduates of the National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE) at a ceremony hosted at the David Rose Special Needs School in Thomas Lands, Georgetown yesterday.
“The Government is cognizant of the challenges persons with disabilities face each day within our beautiful country. Therefore, we will continue to provide opportunities and roll out initiatives that improve the quality of life of persons living with disabilities,” Minister Hastings-Williams said.
She then congratulated the graduates for completing the programme and urged them to reject the stereotypes associated with persons with disabilities and instead, use their newly acquired skills to take their rightful place in society.
“You are capable of developing the skills, abilities and competencies necessary to become economically independent. The fact that you are persons with disabilities does not mean that you are not capable of being a businessperson, an entrepreneur,” she said.
The programme was executed by the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) for Persons with Disabilities and was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection and the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD).
GCOPD was represented by its Chairman, Mr. Cecil Morris.
Chairman of the BIT, Mr. Clinton Williams, committed to further enhancing the programme. “We have received funding from the Basic Needs Fund, which we will collaborate with you to ensure that the funding is utilized to expand the programme so that persons with disabilities will benefit and by doing that the country will benefit,” he said.
At the end of 2019, the BIT expects to have successfully trained 25,000 persons including those with disabilities, across the 10 administrative Regions. The programme offered courses such as JAWS-Job Access with Speech, Garment Construction, Chair Caning and Mat Making, Leather Craft, Computer Skills training, Basic Cosmetology, Basic Sewing Skills and Basic Woodworking.