The Natural Resources sector is facing a skills shortage
… As young Guyanese focus on business, not oil or mining – Bharrat
Kaieteur News – Guyana has set about developing its emerging oil and gas industry, having discovered commercial quantities of hydrocarbons in the Stabroek Block more than five years ago.
But it seems for the time being that young Guyanese are not as enthused by the oil boom. What is also alarming is the fact that this lack of interest is being directed at other extractive sectors as well.
Making this disturbing observation was the Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, who oversaw the start of the Natural Resources Apprenticeship Program over the weekend. The aim of that initiative is to take the opportunity to explore different areas of the sector, through training. The groundbreaking batch of participants chosen on Saturday – at the opening ceremony held at the Arthur Chung Convention Center (ACCC) – was told that it was against this backdrop that it urged them not to limit themselves academically.
Addressing the young interns, Bharrat noted, “you need to know where you want to go and you are at the stage of your life where that becomes a problem, where that becomes a problem.”
Perhaps most, he said, are considering what career path to take, adding that there seems to be little interest in joining the extraction and choice sector instead of business-compatible career paths.
Minister Bharrat lamented, “… I don’t know if they don’t consider it fashionable or in trend. But they are more into the business, accounting field. ”He pointed out, however, that this is only a disadvantage of reconstruction for the said industries.
Well aware of this and determined to keep the negative effects at bay, Bharrat said efforts have been directed at establishing the Youth Initiative in Natural Resources. Minister Bharrat underlined that the local Natural Resources sector does not currently have enough skilled Guyanese workers to meet the industry’s demands and that the apprenticeship would provide ample opportunities to show young people how exciting and rewarding the the sector can be.
He cited as an example, that several extractive industry companies had indicated their interest in underground mining.
However, the Minister said that Guyana was “totally disadvantaged” as Guyanese are not competent enough to approve or monitor this unique type of mining.
“These are all questions that you as young people have on your mind and we hope that with this program we can answer some of those questions … That we can guide you to the path where we think you can make a difference, you can make a contribution. ”This, he says, is the whole idea behind the Youth in Natural Resources. ”
The Youth Apprenticeship in Natural Resources program has a three week duration.
During this time, those selected will be given the opportunity to experience the inner regions of Guyana, learn about the natural resources sector and job opportunities within it.
According to the Ministry, participants will interact with mentors and professionals and gain knowledge about working in the extractive industries, including in the oil and gas sector. In addition, they would be able to establish corporate links through networking with the businesses in the sector and also be registered as Youth Ambassadors for Natural Resources.