Last Updated on Monday, 27 March 2023, 14:12 by Denis Chabrol
Guyana’s rapidly emerging oil and gas sector needs 2,000 welders, prompting Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton to issue a stirring appeal to women to get trained in that field and other skills or face the possibility of imported labour from the Philippines.
“Right now, we are short of 2,000 welders in this country so I’m urging women to think outside the box,” he told a Cabinet outreach at Victoria village, East Coast Demerara. “I would urge you women to think outside the box. Start pursuing careers where real money exists,” he said.
Pointing to the severity of the shortage of certified and accredited tradespersons, he said if Guyanese do not take advantage of the available training opportunities foreign companies would have to import such persons as part of their contract. “The problem we might have in this country that we might have to deal with: you might have a high-tech facility being built in this country and the contract that the contractor has in his hand; it says it’s only an accredited or certified plumber can work in the building and we might have people coming from the Philippines to put down toilet bowls in Guyana unless we resolve the problem we have regarding those issues,” he said. The Guyana government has for several months now been signaling that foreign workers would have to be imported.
He said the Labour Ministry’s Board of Industrial Training (BIT) has suspended offering cosmetology courses on the East Coast Demerara. Instead, he said the priority areas are heavy duty vehicle operation, welding, plumbing, electrical installation and air conditioning technician. “Those are the conversations that I would like to have with you, the women, so that you can transform yourself in a way that you might never had an opportunity before,” he said.
Mr Hamilton said the BIT offers training during the evening as part of government’s thrust to certify already experienced and competent skilled people. The Labour Ministry, he said, was hoping to complete the construction of a training centre at Unity, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara in another six months to train, certify and accredit skilled trades persons so that they could be work in Guyana and the Caribbean.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall added that an industrial complex was being constructed on the East Coast Demerara to “specifically target the oil and gas sector” and generate “thousands of jobs” to compensate for a loss of sugar industry jobs due to the closure of the East Demerara Estates.