ONE hundred and fifty-one Community Service Officers (CSOs) from Indigenous communities across the country, on Thursday, graduated from a skills training programme during a simple ceremony held at the Hinterland Scholarship Dormitory, Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
The training programme was the result of a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MoAA), and the Ministry of Labour (MoL) through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT).
In attendance at the graduation ceremony were Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton; MoAA Permanent Secretary, Sharon Hicks; MoAA Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ryan Toolsiram; and Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal.
The graduates, who came from all 10 administrative regions, received training in photovoltaic systems, and tractor driving and maintenance.
While delivering the feature address at the ceremony, Minister Hamilton posited that more attention should be given to technical and vocational skills since it is a key pillar to our country’s development. He emphasised the need for more young women from hinterland villages to be included and exposed to the technical training programmes.
“The development we talk about in this country, unless we pay attention to technical and vocational skills, we will miss the boat. We have to repose and pay attention to needs of the society and understand the importance of technical skills in the development of Guyana,” the minister noted.
He also encouraged the CSOs to make recommendations for training programmes that are needed in their villages and communities and collaborate with the BIT to roll out more programmes that will significantly build and provide more opportunities in the hinterland.
Also delivering remarks to the graduates was Minister Croal, who emphasised the critical role such training programmes play in bridging the gap between the hinterland and the coastland.
“Your journey has only started, the receipt of a licence or a certificate it doesn’t end there. The communities in which you live will need the skills that you now possess. More importantly we are committed to bridging the gap within the hinterland and the coastland, so training programmes like these will certainly help in reducing that gap,” he said.
To this end, he expressed much satisfaction with the initiatives rolled out by the BIT in hinterland villages thus far.
“I am particularly pleased that the Board of Industrial Training has many relevant programmes that are geared towards creating employment opportunities,” Minister Croal stated.