Thursday, October 28, 2021

Growing a Guyanese brand with international standards

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When Kerensa Gravesande-Bart conceptualised Strategic Recruitment Solutions Incorporated Guyana (SRSGY), she knew that she wanted to create a company that would not only be Guyanese-owned but it should be able to drive local content and provide tangible avenues for citizens to participate in their country’s oil and gas industry.

Three years after its establishment, Kerensa, who is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of SRSGY, believes that the company is well on its way to achieving that ambitious goal.

But just who or what is SRSGY and what makes the company special?

Kerensa, better known as Kerri, said the idea for SRSGY was born in 2007 while she was pursuing a course in entrepreneurship at the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED). She realised the need for a local home-grown brand, which can offer services to the oil and gas industry and other sectors. A Business Development Plan was created and, in 2018, she and her husband Lloyd Bart took a leap of faith to start the business.

“I believe it is really essential that Guyanese get an opportunity to participate in this energy revolution. The resources that are being discovered are for Guyanese and I believe that they have every right to participate in the journey towards development and prosperity. They deserve the chance to have their capacities built so that they can valuably contribute to the growth of our economy with this particular resource,” Kerri said.

Her considerable experience in the Human Resources field, coupled with Lloyd’s expertise and knowledge made them a good fit for the industry.

She added, “My exposure to the oil and gas sector deepened my love for dealing with people and the human resource world. My husband brought to bear experience working in that realm as well because he studied psychology. So, the two blended well. We thought it was fitting to establish the company.”

As a 100 percent Guyanese-owned and operated firm, SRSGY today provides a full gamut of services to stakeholders operating in the country’s oil and gas sector.

Guyanese recruitment firm targeting opportunities in Houston

“We provide full-fledged services from interviews and screening to payroll management and employee management services to all sectors. Our niche market at the moment, however, is the oil and gas sector. We provide these services to one of the drilling operators and a few of the prime contractors, servicing the drilling operations offshore,” she shared.

Certification

In 2019, soon after becoming established, the company attained Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) certification.  This signifies that a company has completed internationally accepted due-diligence procedures and has been forthcoming and cooperative during the review process.

Further to that, in 2019, SRSGY pursued ISO 9001:2015 certification. The certification provides a model for companies of all types and sizes to use in building an effective quality management system.

In December 2020, the company received this certification, becoming the first standalone Guyanese recruitment firm to have done so. Added to its TRACE certificate, it was fully equipped to compete regionally and internationally with its counterparts in the industry.

Kerri said, “One of our greatest accomplishments, I would say, is our TRACE certification and our ISO certification. In 2015, telling a Guyanese company to become TRACE or ISO certified, they would probably ask you what are you talking about and why is this is necessary.  But this is a huge achievement for us because it really showcases our commitment to continuous improvement and quality services, particularly to the clients we serve at the moment. The certification has really put us in a position to compete in a market with international and regional counterparts.”

Training and Development

Lloyd Bart, Chief Operations Officer and co-founder of the company, says while these are all achievements for the company, more than the services that are provided, SRSGY prides itself on investing in its people.

It therefore places emphasis on the areas of training and development, skill enhancement and upskilling.

Through these efforts, the company in just three short years, has trained and placed over 100 persons at various levels within the oil and gas sector, thereby delivering on its local content drive.

“We provide both onshore and offshore training. For the offshore, we provide entry-level training, taking persons who previously did not have the experience or expertise and we are molding them to effectively participate and contribute in the delivery of these services.  We provide these trainings to our candidates and employees because we believe that this is an important tool for them to experience and contribute to the oil and gas sector,” Lloyd noted.

He adds that, “We believe in a culture of inclusivity and through our inclusive culture, we create avenues for Guyanese to participate in the oil and gas sector. We believe strongly in local content and local development. Our footprint will be one of beneficial opportunities for all Guyanese, in all sectors, through employment.”

Holly Persaud, Corporate Human Resource Manager at SRSGY, says the company prides itself on the development of its staff members and recruits since it believes that they are critical to its overall success. The training and development opportunities are also tailored in such a way that there is room for upward mobility in the company.

“We place great emphasis on capacity building. When an employee comes on board and they don’t have the full training, we believe in getting that person up to scratch so they are able not only to contribute to what’s happening within the team but they can also find enjoyment in what they do. Training and development are the embodiment of the company. We believe in continuous growth and catapulting to the next level,” she said.

Inclusion and Diversity

SRSGY also boasts of an inclusion and diversity policy, and is an equal opportunity employer.

“Diversity and inclusion are one of the bedrocks for Strategic Recruitment Solutions Inc. Our CEO is a female…and it is imperative that we have complete inclusion not only for women but for the LGBTQ community, the six wonderful races in our country and persons living with disabilities; we try to involve everyone in what we are doing,” Holly noted.

Expansion

In May 2021, SRSGY announced plans to expand its operations to neighbouring Suriname through a partnership with Humus Consulting. The Joint Venture, Strategic Recruitment Suriname N.V., will provide the level of services and human resources multinationals require through selection and specialised training of local companies and individuals.

Kerri explains, “We had several clients who kept asking us if we had our services available in the Suriname market because they also were looking to operate or were already operating there and so, we took the opportunity to pivot to Suriname and we started a joint venture. We are doing business development with these clients so these will unfold before the end of the year.”

She hinted that the company has plans to expand its operations further afield in the coming months.

Asked what indelible footprint the company hopes to achieve as it grows and expands, Kerri says, “SRSGY wants to leave a footprint of a global, homegrown service brand that will someday become an IPO initial public offering in the Guyanese and the international market. We look forward to growing the company exponentially so that we can achieve that particular milestone.”

The company already has a range of local and international partners. These include the Georgetown Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCCI), the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Labour, Maritime Administration Department, University of Guyana, Caribbean Surgeries Inc/Partners with ISOS (ExxonMobil’s approved Medical Provider), Falck Nutec Safety Centre, TOTALTEC, MatPal Marine Institute, among others.

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