Ministries of Labour & Amerindian Affairs sign MoU for training of 440 Community Service Officers

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A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was on Thursday signed between the Ministry of Labour (MOL)- Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs.

The signing of the MoU marks a collaboration that will see approximately 440 community service officers (CSOs) in indigenous/hinterland communities being engaged in a skills training programme.

While the programme is being executed by the MOAA, the MOL sought to assist by utilising the BIT, which is the Ministry’s training arm, to have its technical officers conduct the training.

The skills training programme has been designated some $39.2M to be adequately rolled out and will see the CSOs being trained in the theoretical and practical aspects of certain areas of focus such as Field Operation and Tractor Maintenance; Introduction to Solar Installation and Maintenance; and Small Engine Repairs.

Among the key officials in attendance were; Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton;  Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai; MOL Permanent Secretary, Mr. Bishram Kuppen; MOAA Permanent Secretary, Ms. Sharon Hicks; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the BIT, Mr. Richard Maughn and Chairman of the BIT, Mr. David Armogan.

While delivering his address Minister Hamilton stressed that it is important for hinterland communities to have access to the same facilities coastal communities do. In addition, he charged the attendees to realize the importance of being multiskilled, especially in an ever-evolving society where it is impossible to survive with one skill. He stated that while in the past having one skill might have been sufficient, times have changed.

As he encouraged the attendees to be diverse in their thinking, he said, “A one-talent one-skilled person cannot survive the next five or ten years, so therefore you, young people, you have to become multitalented and multiskilled, you can’t be comfortable. As much as this training you will complete it, don’t resign yourself…only the multitalented and multiskilled persons would be able to survive development.”

Minister Sukhai also spoke to the value of CSOs and skills training. She outlined that the government sought to ensure that hinterland communities are graced with adequate human resources like the coastal communities, adding that it is very beneficial for hinterland youth. Given that the MOU was signed today, she emphasized that it is a representation of the government delivering on its commitments.

Further, the Minister outlined that with solar installation and maintenance training now being offered, it will be a great bolster to the delivery of solar panels in the hinterland and riverine communities.

The Minister noted that “…our government has secured 35,000 solar panels so that every single household who do not get power or electricity off the regional or national grid will have a form of alternative green energy in their homes.”

The programme is expected to conclude on December 1, 2021.