THE Department of Energy continues to engage stakeholders across the country to ensure that they obtain a good understanding of the opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship both within the petroleum sector and in other fields.
During a series of stakeholder engagements, Director of the Department of Energy, Dr Mark Bynoe, noted that while job opportunities abound, training, skills building, certification and competency are critical to capitalise on them.
The department reiterated this point in its recent engagements at the Calvary Temple Assembly of God Church, Retrieve, Linden, Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice (Region 10); the International Decade for People of African Descent Assembly – Guyana Oil and Gas forum held at GITC and the Guyana Youth for Tomorrow (GYFT) symposium, both held in Georgetown.
These was also a similar forum at the third Annual Hindu Youth Convention held at the Golden OM Dharmic Youth Organisation, New Amsterdam, Berbice, East Berbice-Corentyne.
“Within the industry, there are certain takeaways that we must hold to. One is that you must ensure that you are qualified and certified. Why is this important? It is important because the industry has very high standards,” Dr. Bynoe said in his presentation titled “The advent of oil and its impact on our communities” at the GYFT forum.
The director of energy also encouraged the young people to pursue their passion and to ensure that they are competent in any field that suits their interest.
He noted that Guyanese are capable of providing training as well as ancillary services to the industry, which will become necessary in fields as varied as catering, tourism and engineering as the oil sector emerges.
“It’s not just about oil and gas; it’s about all the other supporting services that are required. Guyana is yours, consume it. Guyana belongs to us all, occupy it… advise your friends and families to plan for careers not only in oil and gas. Your careers have to be beyond oil and gas. Yes, I said there might be opportunities therein, but there are opportunities outside, what we call the multiplier effect,” he said.
In this vein, the director cautioned young people to utilise their smart phones and the Internet to research the skillsets and certification required in their particular field, so that they are not duped by unscrupulous persons.
“You have to do your own investigation to know whether those certificates would be accepted within the industry, because everybody can say ‘I’m able to train you in oil and gas management or make you a petroleum engineer, or ensure that you have the requisite skills, but will those certificates be accepted? …. You need to do your homework…. There is also a programme called Google … what you don’t know you can investigate and find out… use it so that you are able to access more information to make informed choices,” he said.
In response to concerns about acquiring job experience as new graduates, Dr Bynoe encouraged the young people to consider volunteering, both to gain experience and to obtain a broader perspective of careers within their areas of interest.
“Volunteerism is about gaining the experience and the expertise before you can start calling for your price. Too often people come through the door and the first thing they ask is… how much are you paying? That cannot be the mentality that we’re going forward with… The careers chosen will take time and therefore we need to manage our expectations.
You’re not going to become an expert because you just graduated from law school. You’re not going to become an expert because you just graduated from med school. You’re not going to become an expert because you just graduated with an economics degree. These things take time,” he cautioned.
Meanwhile, the Council for Technical Vocational Education and Training (C-TVET) plans to implement a new records system in its institutions from September, to counter these concerns. C-TVET Officer – Standards and Curriculum, Seon Hamer said the council is embarking on this initiative in response to concerns expressed by its graduates.
“We’re looking towards implementing a log book system within the technical institutes where, while [students] are [being trained] … practical activities will be logged. [Students being trained] in electrical installation, for example, the institution would use the classes … to do maintenance work … during classroom contact time or after… Those activities will be logged and will be signed off by your assessor and the school and it will be stamped by the school. So after two years or three years of training, all of those activities will amount to work experience,” he said.
Additionally, echoing sentiments expressed by Bynoe, Hamer also encouraged the youth to develop their skillsets and to keep learning.
“We have to be engaged in continuous training and continuous upgrading of our qualifications, so that we will continue to be relevant in the employment sector,” he said.