National Youth Skills Training

Speech Presented at the Launch of the National Youth Skills Training Programme on Friday October 22, 2010 by Mr. Ramesh Dookhoo, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission

It gives me great pleasure to address you here today on the occasion of the launching of the National Youth Skills Training Programme and the opening of this centre here in Eccles.

In his New Year’s message this year, His Excellency President Bharrat Jagdeo set a target of 4,000 youths and women to be trained or empowered in the year 2010.  Many of those youths will graduate from this Skills Training Programme.  It is essential to Guyana’s development that we should have a trained and skilled workforce that can cater to the needs of industry and commerce.

Many of our businesses suffer from the lack of skilled employees while so many of our youth are either unemployed or unemployable.  The efforts of government to address this supply of skills issue is in keeping with Private Sector needs.

The Board of Industrial Training which was established in 1910 was established with a mandate to provide for the promotion of Industrial Training,the Vice Chairman of that Board is a Private Sector Person.

  The Board has been responsible for the training of 3,762 young people through various projects in the ten years from the year 2000 to 2009.  In 2010 it is expected to complete training of 2,304 persons from the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment alone.  The latter project has been responsible for the training and certification at the semi-skilled level of 2,922 youths up to the first quarter of 2010.  These are numbers that inspire those of us who are in business that we can look forward to a improvement in the skills pool of potential employees in the future.

In August of this year we note that, Guyana became the latest country to join UNESCO’s International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training, UNEVOC, and will receive much needed assistance in developing its Technical and Vocational Education systems.  There will also be a focus on making Guyana’s TVET systems more sustainable.

 Technical and Vocational Education has been traditionally been made available to those who were less than successful in more academic streams of education and has been of a more manual or practical nature, preparing trainees for a specific trade, occupation or vocation.  This form of education, however, is vital to industry since many companies depend on trained or trainable graduates to provide the skills that they need.

It is imperative that the private sector should support the efforts to provide early school leavers and other unskilled youths with the opportunity to upgrade their skills and become productive members of society.  

Many private sector companies, both large and small, have lent their support by offering apprenticeship schemes and a multitude of local companies were involved.  

These are, however, insufficient to address the needs of training our unskilled young people and much more participation is needed.  There needs to be a further strengthening of the partnership of the private sector further with the Board of Industrial Training for the apprenticeship of more young people, and this is something that we advocate as leaders in the private sector.

 We also need to put a stronger focus on the evolving Services Sector,we need to readdress the curricula of the technical institutes as the demand for different skills sets increases and the contribution of the various sectors of the GDP Changes.

Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.”
~Tom Krause quotes

The focus of any training programme is the students themselves since they are at the core of the activities. We cannot be successful in life without hard work and sacrifice,without thinking hard about what we have learnt,thinking it through night and day and as you approach the end of your training create a set of goals,what you would like to achieve in the coming months.

1.    You have to go job hunting ,you have to look and look and call your elders and use their network to find a job.
2.    Then you have to work harder and harder to be accepted by your employers.
3.    Then you have to work hard for a promotion
4.    You have to be disciplined to adapt to the culture of your workplace.
5.    Then you have to work and work and you will receive and receive bountifully.
6.    Your ABILITY TO SOLVE PROBLEMS will develop.
7.    Your ability to get results is what is necessary in the work place.
8.    You will then be empowered to lead others as you get older,you will not be a mason forever you aspire to be a contractor.
9.    You will not be a mechanic forever you will own your own mechanic shop.
10.    You will not be a carpenter forever you will employ other carpenters.

This is what we must aspire to. I know of many persons who are millionaires in Guyana who cannot write nor read.

I say all of this to say to you the students that there are no free lunches in life,the average employed person in the Private Sector works for 40 years until he or she retires,you have to ensure that you achieve as much as possible in those 40 years. To use your skills to yield the maximum returns for you.

 It is important that the young people who will benefit from this training programme should apply themselves to the learning process and put their shoulders to the wheel.  For many of you this is a second chance at acquiring skills that will make you employable and it is incumbent on you to ensure that the lessons are not wasted.  There is no substitute for a good education and hard work is the key to success in any field of endeavour.  The goal of each one of you should be to be the very best in your class.Many of you may have had unfortunate circumstances in life that took away opportunities in your development. But remember.

It's not what happens to you that determines how far you will go in life ;it is how you handle what happens to you.
~Zig Ziglar

Let me assure you that the Private Sector Commission and its partner associations  will stand ready and willing to lend its assistance to both the Board and the Ministry of Labour in their efforts to upgrade the skill sets of our young people.  I wish you all success in the future.

I thank you.

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