Following numerous reports and complaints from qualified young Guyanese about not securing jobs because they lack work experience, the Ministry of Labour is engaging the University of Guyana to allow all final-year students to secure internships or apprenticeships.
“I have had initial or preliminary conversation with the leadership of the University of Guyana and we are seeking to establish a joint committee to pay attention to the issue of apprenticeship or what some people call it internship,” Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton revealed at the National Job Fair on Monday.
Minister Hamilton believes that all students, regardless of their field of study, should be exposed to the working world in their final year.
“The only way I see we can give those students their experience is by ensuring that in their final year, they are at work,” Hamilton said.
Minister Hamilton related that he has instructed the Board of Industrial Training and Central Recruitment and Manpower to engage the University of Guyana. The authority to engage companies for apprenticeship programme is the Board of Industrial Training.
Hamilton also added that an apprenticeship programme is not only for technical and vocational graduates.
“The other important thing I need to point out for companies, some people believe that if a person is properly qualified that they cannot be an apprentice.
“You can have a Master’s (degree)but if you are doing specific training over a period to enter oil and gas, you are an apprentice, and that is what people are not grasping. When I say apprentice, they think lower level TVET kind of employment,” Hamilton explained.
Meanwhile, the National Job fair is being held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, Greater Georgetown as part of the government’s plan to ensure all Guyanese are employed.
About 30 employers have set up booths and will be conducting on-the-spot interviews and hiring.
According to Hamilton, the government is committed to ensuring every Guyanese has a chance for a proper education, access good paying jobs, start their own business, adequately provide for their families, own their own homes and retire with dignity.
In March this year, the National Job Bank was launched and within eight months over 300 persons secured jobs and 4000 persons benefited from the services.
It was also noted that the Board of Industrial Training, which was established to address the issue of unemployment, trained over 7000 individuals between 2021/2022.
“We don’t just train and leave the people to wander; and that is why the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency is twinned with it to ensure that at the end of the day, the people we make employable are employed,” Hamilton said.
He further made a call for employers to seek collaborations with the Board of Industrial Training and not “only celebrate children that acquired academic qualifications.”
Hamilton related that of the 7000 people trained within the past year, more than 50 per cent are females.
“Females never thought that they could have operated heavy-duty equipment, females never thought they would be doing welding and fabrication.”