Youths graduate from ministry's 10-month skills programme
Supenaam girl comes out tops
Stabroek News
July 27, 2002

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One hundred and forty youths, aged 16 to 25 years, graduated last week from the Kuru Kuru Training Complex (KKTC) after completing a ten-month technical and vocational skills training programme.

The youths, who hailed from each of Guyana's ten regions, covered eight areas of study in the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST) programme, including Business Studies, Carpentry, Electrical Installation, Joinery, Motor Mechanics, Masonry, Plumbing and Sheet Metal Work and Welding. In addition, students received tutelage in 'functional' English Language and Mathematics, Social Studies and Reading.

Topping the list of graduands was Beverly Roberts, a resident of Supenaam on the Essequibo Coast, who majored in Business Studies. David Melville who also gained first place in the Electrical Installation batch followed Roberts.

In Carpentry and Joinery, the outstanding performers were Joslyn Harris and Donovan Andrews, respectively while Alicia Stephenson and Cabesh Persaud headed the list for Plumbing and Sheet Metal and Welding and Fabrication in that order.

Alister Allen excelled in Masonry and Ryon Jones dominated in Motor Mechanics. Earlene McDonald received the "Most Disciplined Student" award.

The two-hour ceremony followed an exhibition, which showcased the variety of items manufactured by the graduands and the commissioning of a double generating set by Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Gail Teixeira.

Senior Training Officer, Ovid Isaacs, who presented the course review related that the graduands were among 153 students recruited for the 2001-2002 academic year which commenced on September 24. He explained of those recruited, 13 had dropped out due to their inability to cope with a disciplined environment.

Apart from skills training, students would also have attained self-reliance, entrepreneurial techniques, an awareness of the history and culture of the Guyanese people and positive attitudes for a full and meaningful life, a working knowledge of national and international issues as well as the provision of technical skills for national development.

The students benefited from support services in the form of guidance and counselling with discussions on current affairs, health issues and moral values.

Further, social exposure is forged through extra curricular activities such as sporting events and games. Medical facilities, cultural activities, parental visits to the centre and a monthly stipend of $4,000 each also contribute to a balanced environment for the recruits.

According to the Senior Training Officer, 83 students were sent on work attachment to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the Guyana National Industrial Corporation (GNIC), Demerara Distillers Limited, the Berbice Mining Enterprise (BERMINE), Guyana Power and Light (GPL), Precision Woodworking Establishment, Brass Aluminium and Cast Iron Foundry (BACIF), Alli's Workshop and Rafeek's Joinery in Leguan and Henry's Welding Establishment in Berbice.

In the area of cost recovery, Isaacs said that both male and female students did a great deal of work on and off the location, including maintaining the dorms and classrooms, constructing a pavilion, tables, chairs and a chain link fence.

"Adequate supply of tools, materials and equipment would ensure a well-conducted programme. However, the administration of KKTC has learnt considerably from our past experiences and future programmes could only get better," Isaacs asserted.

Meanwhile, prior to her delivery of the feature address, the graduands sang "Happy Birthday" for the minister who lauded their achievements and encouraged them to be "good ambassadors of [the] programme."

Teixeira informed that some 687 persons have indicated their interest in being part of the 2002-2003 programme after the ministry distributed more than 1,000 applications to field offices throughout the country. She noted that the figure was indicative of a quest by the nation's young people for improvement and education.

The minister said that since her ministry took over the programme from the Guyana National Service in January 2002, there has been increased involvement by female students in all the skilled areas for the first time in five years.

"When young people are given an opportunity to excel, boosts their confidence," the minister declared. Roberts is now attending a Commonwealth Youth Exchange in Jamaica as part of a Guyana delegation.

She said, the KKTC could currently accommodate a total of 170 trainees, adding that the entrance examination is set at or just below the level of the Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (SSEE). Thus students who desire to pursue studies at the Government Technical Institute (GTI), Guyana Industrial Training Centre (GITC) and other similar institutions would be equipped to do same at the completion of their training.

Teixeira commended parents and guardians on their sacrifice and pointed out that family support was key to guaranteeing the success of every trainee.

"It takes a whole nation to work and develop the next generation, it is all our responsibilities," Teixeira stated.

She said that government would seek to obtain loans from micro credit institutions such as the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED), Scotia Bank and the Guyana Youth Business Trust (GYBT) to aid in future funding of the programme. The minister disclosed that in the light of greater need of technical vocational training of Guyanese youth, government has worked with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to acquire funding for short-term courses in a number of selected pilot areas, within communities which include Bartica, Mahaica, Mahaicony, Kwakwani and Mabaruma.

Yesterday, another batch of students from the non-residential programme at Sophia graduated.