We have seen past trainees’ testimonies, their successes, the budding entrepreneurs and the lives of senior citizens and single parents transformed for the better thanks to efforts made by the Government of Guyana on delivering Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to Guyanese from all walks of life.
A promise fulfilled through the re-establishment of the Ministry of Labour, the Board of Industrial Training was given a fair chance in 2021, to cater to national development in every administrative region, under the leadership of the Honorable, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton.
Since taking office in August 2020, the minister implemented three pillars to ensure smooth operation in delivering the ministry’s mandate. These are;
- Capacity building
- Human development
- Protection of the rights of workers.
The Board of Industrial Training (BIT) is labelled as the premiere training agency in Guyana, eligible to certify persons in several courses, such as, Garment Construction, Cosmetology, Commercial Food Preparation, Agro- Processing, Boat Building, Cake Decoration, Child Care, Care for the Elderly, Disability Studies / Special Education Needs Training, Heavy Duty Equipment Operation, among others.
However, the delivery of these programmes in Guyana would not have been possible, without the placement of Technical Officers. During, 2021, BIT saw a 67% increase of Technical Officers, among the new staff employed to facilitate training implementation in regions # 1,2, 5, 6,7,8,9 and 10.
In 2021, the officers were trained in areas, such as, the role in Human Resource Management, Evidence-Based Programming for Transformational Youth Development, Portfolios and Competency Assessment in TVET, Community-Based Training (CBT): Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) and Measuring Impact Via Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E).
BIT also saw the need for an in house training, since it is vital for the development of every technical officer, since they are point contacts that often interact with instructors and prospective trainees, following the public at large. Before 2020, there was a gap in technical officer assigned to each region. However, this was short lived after Minister Hamilton sought to employ technical officers for each region, with some regions having two officers assigned, due to its high population, these are region 3,4,6,10.
Besides the technical officers, the agency contracted instructors from every region to train persons desirous to learn a skills. During 2021, there were more than 149 contracted instructors listed, offering courses such as, Heavy Duty Equipment Operation (HDEO), Commercial Food Preparation, Garment Construction, Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Solar Panel Installation, Child Care, Care for the Elderly, among other skills training.
To boost training offered by trainers/ instructors, a trainers’ orientation to the BIT training methodology, via a Train-the-Trainer Workshop was held in June and July, 2021, the instructors received pedagogical training during the agency’s 2021 training cycle, which propelled the delivery of skills training to more than 3000 persons for 2021.
This saw one thousand nine hundred and forty-one (1941) individuals between August, Friday 25, 2021, to Friday, December 3, 2021, awarded certificates and graduated from training programs, of the total individuals who graduated two hundred and sixty-one (261) represented persons who were trained under the Community Service Officers (CSO) Skills training project. Graduations were held in all administrative regions, with some other 2021 programs, scheduled to come to a close, between February to March, 2022.
Turning the focus away from skills delivery and equipping staff with the necessary training to build the agency. Last year, BIT also commenced a campaign to establish regional offices to support effective development through Vocational Education and Training that is regionally driven.
In February, 2021 BIT received a plot of land from the Mayor and Town Council Mahdia Region # 8 to establish an office and training complex, the plot of land is 100ft in length and 60ft in width and is located in the housing scheme (Lot 54) at the “Airstrip End”.
In region 6, a building was lent for the establishment of the Ministry of Labour (MOL) – Board of Industrial Training (BIT) Springlands Corentyne Office. However, before the commissioning of the building in October, 2021, interior works were done to accommodate employees at the location. In the Pomeroon-Supenaam, a building was also commissioned at Anna Regina to carry out the functions of the ministry and the BIT.
A memorandum of agreement between the BIT and Kwakwani Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) for BIT to occupy and use the library situated at Kwakwani Park, Berbice River as its tempera office, retrofitting is ongoing.
The Board of Industrial Training has travelled the length and breadth of Guyana and held countless meetings to interact with numerous Regional and Neighborhood Democratic Councils, (RDC) and (NDC), Toshoas, Religious Leaders, Non- Government Organizations (NGO), Training Institutions and Government Agencies, this saw a positive outcome of persons who were not aware of the services offered by BIT, today are skilled and certified, with some walking the path to entrepreneurship.
Several past trainees and instructors’ testimonies were highlighted on the agency’s Facebook, Instagram and https://www.bit.gov.gy website platforms.
In 2022, bit will engage, train and certify more persons in 2022, with new programs reaching communities that were never benefitted.
Future collaboration will be heightened by several sensitization sessions scheduled to be held with fifth and sixth formers at various Secondary Schools, this initiative will edify and empower young persons on the importance of acquiring technical and vocational training, upon completion of their secondary education, this exercise aims to provide information on the importance of technical and vocatioal education being just as important as academic education.
Globally, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) largely enhance the employability prospects of the present and short-term labour force. The delivery of TVET therefore must be implemented in context of national, regional and global aspirations and guiding instruments. Thus, BIT 2022 work program is guided by the Global domains of Youth Development as outlined in 2020 Youth Development Index Report (Commonwealth Secretariat, 2020, pp 2-6), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Target 4.4 (UN 2015), the World Programme of Action for Youth. Priority area 1. Action 1, 4 & 6 and Priority area 2. Action 4 (United Nations General Assembly, 2010) and the Government’s manifesto; enhance opportunity in TVET (2020, p. 34).
(Board of Industrial Training, Public Relations Department).