Forty employees of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) graduated from a five-day training course in Catering and Sewing.
The training course, conducted by the Ruimveldt Life Improvement Centre, will equip workers from the Enmore Sugar Estate with the necessary skills for alternative employment following their redundancy come December 29, 2017.
Enmore Sugar Estate Manager Curbette Victorine pointed out that, “The training provided is, a promise made by GuySuCo, to empower its employees when the restructuring of the sugar company occurs.” In addition to the Ruimveldt Life Improvement Centre, the Small Business Bureau is also supporting the venture.
Victorine noted that the idea is not to make workers redundant, but to give employees a life after sugar. He added that the training provided is a great start to that process. “I believe and strongly so that this is a start. I know that it is a great start because the talent that was exposed over the past five days does indicate that you have creativity, you have a sense of where you want to go, and that entrepreneurial spirit seems to reside in this group.”
The training programme is a pilot effort and will continue on until every employee who is interested in acquiring a skill is proficient in that specific area of interest, as more skills training will be added for the next batch.
Surumattie Phillips, who participated in the catering course, expressed gratitude towards GuySuCo for providing herself and colleagues with the opportunity to learn a new skill. Phillips encouraged her colleagues not to take the training received lightly as it has the potential to make their livelihood a better one.
Atesha Cato, who participated in the Sewing course, said she will be making full use of the Small Business Bureau to see what options are accessible as she moves forward.
By 2020, GuySuCo aims to reduce sugar production to three factories employing 10, 000 workers, which would be 6,000 less than it currently has. The Corporation sees itself being able to produce 150,000 tonnes of sugar annually in the next three years from the estates that would be kept in operation – Albion and Blairmont in Berbice and Uitvlugt, on West Coast Demerara.
The operations at these factories would be able to meet the demands of markets locally, in the Caribbean and further afield. In addition to selling raw sugar, the GuySuCo is looking at value-added sugars and providing electricity to the national grid through co-generation.