Twenty-nine youths from across Guyana will have the opportunity to learn about the functions and operations of the natural resources sector.
The Ministry of Natural Resources on Monday launched its third annual Youth in Natural Resources Apprenticeship Programme at Herdmanston Lodge in Georgetown.
Over the next three weeks, the youths will have first-hand knowledge of the extractive industry. The youths will be touring the local offices of petroleum companies and communities that engage in gold and bauxite mining, forestry operations.
In addition to the introduction to natural resources, the youths will also be visiting the savannahs in the Rupununi, the Guyana/Suriname border and the Iwokrama Nature Reserve.
According to Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman the aim is to involve youths in the protection and preservation of natural resources and provide in-depth knowledge of the sector through interactive and training sessions.
“We hope to expose you to wondrous things and people, and stretch you both physically and mentally, the aim is not to break you or remake you but to touch your heart and minds and to see each other differently, to see nature, the natural resources and the community in a whole new way,” the Minister said.
Minister Trotman said this is also a way to show that the extractive industries have jobs that are worthy of pursuing.
The Minister told the youths that some of the adventures will be difficult, but it will be the most memorable experiences of their lives.
“We believe then and still do now that if we do not actively engage young people in a meaningful way in the sector, we stand to lose the gains we have made because there would be no one with the desire, passion and commitment to take up the cause when we would have moved on,” the Minister said.
The programme caters to youths between 15 and 18 years old.
The students had to submit a photo collage, an essay or a three-minute video on different topics all relating to the natural resource sector.
Meanwhile, Fatima Karim from the first batch of youths of the programme is now a second-year chemical engineer student at Stanford University in the United States.
The 20-year-old said the programme unlocked a desire in her to make an impact on the sustainability in green engineering.
“I came to the programme wide-eyed and oblivious to how I complete a task as big as-changing the world-in a country that seemed as small as Guyana, the keyword here is ‘seemed’…boy was I wrong.
“Engineering is larger than life, it’s about taking one step from mankind and leading us in a positive direction, it’s about looking at a bauxite site and seeing more than meets the eye reaching with an inner understanding into the earth to produce something beautiful, it’s about being an engineer but relying on the computer scientist to help you along your path, the environmentalist to remind you about what really matters, the policymakers to help make your big grandiose dream into a reality.
“It’s about sitting in a very small plane minutes away from vomiting and just taking deep slow breaths,” Karim said.
The programme is in collaboration with the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, the Ministry of Social Protection, the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission, the Guyana Gold Board, the Guyana Forestry Commission and MACORP.
At the launch on Monday, it was noted that a youth in natural resources alumni will also be introduced.