–Hundreds of Guyanese exposed to employment options, capacity-building programmes during National Job Fair
HUNDREDS of Guyanese, particularly young people, on Monday, explored the myriad employment opportunities and capacity-building programmes that are available to them during the inaugural National Job Fair organised by the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency (CRMA) of the Ministry of Labour (MoL).
The event is part of the government’s plan to ensure that more Guyanese are gainfully employed, and will complement the National Job Bank, which was launched in April by the MoL.
Over 30 local and international employers had booths set up at the event, ready to recruit skilled individuals, with dozens of vacancies opened for the eager patrons to apply to fill.
“I came out today to see what opportunities they have, and in what way I can fit in to the positions they have. I’m looking for a clerical job right now,” 23-year-old Lilowtie Pooran told the Guyana Chronicle.
Pooran shared that she was happy to see the job fair initiative, as it has made things easy on her. She is a recipient of a scholarship under the Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) programme and is currently studying for her Bachelor’s Degree in Data Science.
Businesses on exhibition at the job fair ranged from the oil and gas and construction, to hospitality and health. The Guyana Police Force (GPF) also capitalised on the opportunity to do some recruitment.
With many local companies, particularly those in the construction sector, currently facing labour issues, some of the companies speaking with the Guyana Chronicle noted that the fair not only helps the job seekers but businesses as well.
“Taking into consideration what has been going on locally and the skill shortage that we’re facing, this [job fair] would serve as a good opportunity to reintroduce our company to the work force with the hope of attracting new employees to help to refit our company with new skillsets,” commented Adrian Barkoye, a representative at a booth from BACIF– local engineering and manufacturing company.
Many persons were enthusiastic about the businesses on display and the overall initiative. One such person, Shunae Munroe, has been looking for a job for the past year now, so when someone informed her about the National Job Fair, she jumped at the opportunity to come out and see how the initiative might be able to help her in her employment pursuit.
“[As] Guyanese youths we need this! I’ve applied a lot of places. Most are via email but you hardly get any responses coming; that’s why I’m happy for this because I get to walk around and visit for myself more businesses,” she said.
Some youngsters turned out for the event in the company of friends and family, as was the case with 19-year-old Tyrese Aaron, who hails from Craig on the East Bank of Demerara.
Aaron visited the event alongside his 16-year-old brother Mario and 20-year-old friend Safwan Thomas, who were all interested in applying for jobs. The trio were brought to the event by Aaron’s father, Quincy Aaron.
Aaron said that the National Job Fair was a great opportunity for persons who are not always comfortable or familiar with the online aspect of job application.
“Being able to apply face to face is a nice opportunity. Some job dashboards have given me a bit of a tedious time when I’ve tried applying online. I’m hoping to get a job in the oil and gas sector, like a workshop technician,” Aaron said.
The oil and gas sector was also an area where 23-year-old Sham Persaud was checking out a few of the job opportunities. Persaud was at the National Job Fair alongside his friend, 21-year-old Shivanie Boodram.
Persaud visited the fair after he saw advertisements on social media and felt he might be able to match some of the job openings.
“The job fair is a really great opportunity for everyone who has been trying really hard to get a job and haven’t been able to find anything,” he said.
The National Job Fair was declared open on Monday morning by Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, who pledged that the event will become an annual affair.
“I address you this morning, as a citizen who understands the desires of employers to secure competent workers and more so the longing of individuals who are searching for employment to sustain themselves and their loved ones,” Hamilton said.
According to the minister, the government acknowledges the significant role public employment services can play in facilitating smooth lifelong transitions in the labour market by infusing technology and traditional methods, and establishing partnerships through working with providers.
“As the National Employment Authority, CRMA will continue to assist unemployed and underemployed workers, and ensure efficient and equitable provision of employment-related services within Guyana,” Minister Hamilton said.
Representing the private sector, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Council Member, Anita Ramprasad, commended the ministry for leading the way with continuous initiatives to assist in connecting Guyanese seeking employment with employers.
“We’ve never in our history seen such a push to bring together opportunities for employment. I urge you to take full advantage of the opportunity. The ultimate goal is nation building, it is a great time where employers and employees can contribute to the development of the nation. I wish you all success,” she commented.