AFTER a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, 41 youths will participate in a series of vigorous training programmes under the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo) apprenticeship programme.
Speaking at the induction ceremony on Monday, GuySuCo’s Training Centre/Port Mourant (GTC/PM) Manager, Jainarine Sookpaul, highlighted that the apprenticeship programme is one that is built on traditions of excellence and discipline.
He added that this year’s cohort of apprentices was selected from 214 applications after the completion of rigorous examinations and interviews.
“This institution stands on the pillar of traditions [of] honour and discipline and I want to emphasise discipline… we have a reputation here, we have a legacy to protect, so when you join this institution we know where you are heading,” Sookpaul said.
The apprentices will be required to live at the training centre during their four-year training; however, Sookpaul gave the reassurance that COVID-19 protocols are in place to ensure the safety of the participants’ health during the execution of the programme.
“We are fully aware that we are in the middle of a pandemic. What I can tell you from our records we have restarted in February 2021, and to date, and we have not recorded a case of COVID-19,” he assured.
Dr. Ravindra Swammy, GuySuCo’s Chief Medical Officer, appealed for persons to observe all COVID-19 protocols and to become fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Shurwyn Stewart, GuySuCo’s Compensation and Business Development Manager (ag) congratulated the new recruits and their families for their bold efforts to forge ahead with their development despite the COVID-19 pandemic while noting that the successful completion of the apprenticeship is a collective effort by everyone.
“We wish to thank the Government of Guyana for their investment in GuySuCo and GTC/PM but the success of each recruit is a collective responsibility of everyone inclusive of parents and importantly the recruits themselves, who must maintain a high level of discipline and commitment,” he said.
Each apprentice is sponsored by one of the four functioning sugar estates in the country and will return to work at their respective sponsoring estates after completion of their training.
Speaking briefly with the media, Sally Shamsher, the only female apprentice, said she is excited to begin the learning journey.
The 17-year-old, who is a budding mechanical engineer, added that the programme will act as a stepping stone for her future career.
In 1957, Bookers Sugar Estates established a training facility for apprentices called the Port Mourant Training Centre (PMTC). The facility was established to provide young Guyanese with greater opportunities to equip themselves with technical skills. Since 1957, the number of apprentices attending training has grown steadily, and to date, 3,399 young persons have been trained at the PMTC.
GuySuCo’s Apprenticeship Scheme is recognised as the best in Guyana with the majority of graduates progressing into skilled and supervisory positions in GuySuCo after a period of consolidation in their jobs on completion of their apprenticeship. Technical disciplines include Industrial Electrical Installation; Engineering Fitting & Machining; Factory Process Instrumentation; Heavy and Light Automotive Engineering; Automotive Electrical Engineering; and Factory Process Sugar Boiling.
The GuySuCo Training Centre/Port Mourant (GTC/PM) provides an essential function: it supplies apprentices with core technical skills for the fields and factories. Upgrading and future modernisation of the other factories will also require such competencies.