Preliminary assessments suggest that Guyana may need about an additional 100,000 skilled workers and the country’s Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud says that the government is keen on ensuring that those skilled workers are able to secure leadership positions.
Persaud, while speaking at a diaspora engagement forum on Thursday, said that the government is hoping that the 100,000 workers needed can be filled by Guyanese in the diaspora.
“We don’t only want Guyanese to be the cleaners and the handymen or any menial labour and say ‘yay, that is local content’.
“We want them to be leaders and owners,” the Foreign Secretary told members of the diaspora during the forum held at the Herdmanston Lodge in Georgetown.
On Wednesday, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo said that even now, there are labour shortages in many parts of the country. With the government keen on maintaining the pace at which the economy is growing, particularly in the oil and gas sector, more workers are needed.
In the oil and gas sector, local participation is also crucial due to the new Local Content law.
And Persaud explained that these are among the reasons the government has been hosting various engagement sessions with members of the diaspora.
Through these sessions, the government is also expected to link members of the diaspora with opportunities in the country be it in the public or private sectors.
The Foreign Secretary emphasised that the government wants more Guyanese utilising their skills in various leadership positions.
With this thrust, Director of the Local Content Secretariat Martin Pertab told Thursday’s forum that emphasis has been placed on developing the skills of Guyanese within the sector.
Subcontractors are expected to provide local content plans to the secretariat for projects they are interested in working on in Guyana. Only after meeting key requirements, such as having a specific number of Guyanese workers, will any approval be granted by the secretariat.
But it extends beyond just having a certain number of Guyanese workers.
“In the local content plans, we have included that subcontractors have to state how they intend to bridge the knowledge gap,” Pertab explained.
Through this, Guyanese working with foreign companies are expected to learn about the ideas and experiences of more skilled or experienced individuals.