First batch of footballers graduate from pioneering GFF/MACORP scholarship scheme

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The first five footballers to take part in a ground-breaking Guyana Football Federation (GFF)/MACORP industrial scholarship scheme have successfully graduated from the programme, each receiving level one certification as excavator operators.

The first-of-its-kind partnership between the GFF and MACORP, the sole distributor of Caterpillar products in Guyana, will ultimately see 10 footballers receive expert training in excavator operation in the first year of the programme, as the two organisations strive to support more players as they transition into the world of work.

Horicia Adams (19), Charles Darrel (26), Kevin Dundas (25), Micah Erskine (29) and Sasha James (24) completed 120 hours of training, including safety instruction, simulator drills, examinations and practical exercises in order to qualify from the programme.

“I am happy to say that we have successfully completed this first batch,” said MACORP CEO Guillermo Escarraga.

“I am sure that companies are taking note of their newly-acquired skills in this market where there is high demand – that’s what makes the whole effort worthwhile.”

“I want to congratulate you on achieving this certification and I wish you success in your new careers,” he told the players at a graduation ceremony at MACORP’s headquarters in Providence, next door to the GFF National Training Centre.

“We look forward to continuing this support with the Guyana Football Federation. If there might be some other way in which we can collaborate – we have taken note of your goal to reach the World Cup – anything we can help you with, we will be more than happy to do so.”

GFF and MACORP officials with the graduates (Photo: GFF)

The second batch of participants in the scholarship programme commences training with MACORP next week.

“While the GFF is developing football for all, in doing so, we cannot forget the human element of our responsibilities,” said GFF President Wayne Forde.

“What we are doing here together, the GFF and MACORP, is really demonstrating to this entire nation that we care deeply about the welfare of our young people not only when they are in the prime of their life, but when they are also in the twilight of their sporting careers.”

“We would like to see players transition to productive lives and we would like to see them access employment opportunities that will allow them to invest in their children. We would like to see them contributing to the building of this nation, and the skills these players have acquired through this programme will put them at the forefront of the construction boom that has already started,” Forde added.

Lady Jags and Fruta Conquerors defender Sasha James said the course was a “new beginning and a chapter” in her life. “Being around the course made me realise that, even if you are a woman, you can still do things that people say you cannot do,” she said.

“This course has brought so much to me, and it’s opened my eyes to bigger opportunities that will be coming – it’s another step into the world of work.” “I would like to thank the GFF for this opportunity,” she added.

“They have given me the push to move forward in life, not just in football.” Golden Jaguar and Santos FC defender Kevin Dundas said the experience had opened his “mind up to a whole new world of work”. “It was really exceptional,” he said.

“My future plan is to widen my knowledge around the field of excavator operation and to help others in the field where I can. I felt comfortable and at home in this field, and I am eager to see what it holds. I want to thank the GFF and MACORP for making this a huge success and for giving us this opportunity. They are taking steps to see that we have a future after football.” (GFF)

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