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|President counting on GuySuCo apprentices graduates to set standards in sugar industry|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:43|
A BATCH of 45 apprentices graduated after four years at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Training Centre at Port Mourant and although their number is small in measurable proportion to meet the demands of the industry, President Donald Ramotar is counting on
them to break new ground in standards as they add their skills to the industry.
At the 51st convocation of the Training Centre, the graduates were told that fresh ideas are required in the industry that is deep in history but replete with the challenges of labour, climate and ongoing criticisms by sections of society.
President Ramotar, in his address yesterday, went into detail about some of those challenges that exist both externally and internally but, challenges which the graduate apprentices have the power to correct.
“You are coming in at a time when you can be free from the baggage still being carried in the corporation and you can be the ones to set new standards in the industry where all of us will have to make a contribution,” President Ramotar said.
The government and management of GuySuCo are determined to keep the sugar industry alive given its importance to the country’s Gross Domestic Product and have long recognised the critical role played by its human resources.
They remain committed even in the throes of external pressures that saw Guyana losing US$45M in revenue from sugar exports and many of its colleague territories in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) exiting the industry because of those external pressures.
President Ramotar said the industry survived because Guyana had anticipated those challenges and began planning ahead by pursuing interventions for its transformation beyond its traditional function as a raw producer.
The intervention saw a historic investment in the industry with the construction of the Skeldon sugar factory and a move in the direction of value added with packaging and co-generation.
The $4B injected in the industry by the government last year coupled with a similar sum this year is testimony to the government’s commitment to the industry, according to President Ramotar.
The same cannot be said however, for management and workers who the Head of State observed, have long been embroiled in a blame game that is hurting the industry. He said while some workers have been guilty of bad practices, management must also be sensitive to their needs.
GuySuCo plans to invest $244M in training, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Bhim, to satisfy the industry’s many demands, including qualified persons to occupy and/or replenish senior positions at GuySuCo.
The sugar industry was credited with giving birth to some of Guyana’s brightest minds and the GuySuCo training centre was the alma mater. Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy described it as “an iconic institution”.
The centre recorded an increase in applications for enrollment for the 2008–2012 programme and is celebrating a record in academic achievement with 111 distinctions, 9 credits and one pass.
The training fields which many of the students attained multiple distinctions include Fitter Machinist, Agri Mechanics, Electrician, Auto Electrician, Instrument Repair Mechanic and Sugar Boiler.
Manager at the centre, Lall Persaud in his report attributed such achievements to the re-design of the curriculum which saw the addition of new courses and efforts at creating awareness about the institution and its benefits.
The centre provides all encompassing training to help students become well rounded individuals – a huge accomplishment worth celebrating, according to Minister Ramsammy.
“It is an acknowledgement that we have built this programme to a certain quality. There is room to build it more…but GuySuCo is no longer doing what we did in 1957…today, the trainees at this institution, whilst we hope will all go into the sugar industry and stay in the sugar industry, indeed are being trained to contribute to the development of our country,” Minister Ramsammy said.
The 2008-2012 programme saw the resident students copping first prizes in a science fair and while competing against other institutions in various sport disciplines like volleyball, basketball and cricket.
The fact that many take their skills to fields after receiving training is a concern for the company that is seeking to strengthen its human resource base and Minister Ramsammy highlighted the gender imbalance as a demerit.
The need for more training resources, and the resumption of evening classes were pointed out in the Manager’s report.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:47|
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