Guyana’s oil boom creates new opportunities for culinary professionals

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Traditionally dominated by engineers and technical specialists, the oil and gas sector is now tapping into the talents of culinary professionals trained at the Carnegie School of Home Economics. 

Since Guyana’s first oil discovery in 2015, the industry’s growth has been anticipated to create opportunities across various sectors, including hospitality. 

This prediction is becoming a reality, as demonstrated by the June 10, 2024, episode of ‘Wuh Ayo Think Bout Awe Aile,’ where Sharmaine Marshall, principal of the Carnegie School of Home Economics, highlighted the school’s unique curriculum tailored to meet the diverse needs of the oil and gas industry.

Sharmaine Marshall, principal of the Carnegie School of Home Economics

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Established over 91 years ago, the Carnegie School of Home Economics offers nine full-time programs and 13 evening classes covering a wide range of skills, from culinary arts and cake decoration to cosmetology, garment making, interior decoration, and housekeeping.

“About two years ago, we conducted a needs assessment survey, which helped us identify the industry’s requirements. This led us to update some of our programs and course names, particularly in hospitality, to better support the oil and gas sector,” Marshall explained.

Jermain Munoz, a successful graduate of the program, exemplifies its impact. 

Now working as a baker on the Prosperity floating production storage and offloading (FPSO), Munoz shared his experiences and the benefits of his professional training.

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Munoz completed the two-year catering and hospitality program at the school, which he enthusiastically rated a “10 out of 10.”

“In every aspect, there’s something to learn. In every department, there’s something new. Every day, once you’re open-minded and can learn something different, it’s really good,” Munoz said.

He described how the school provided essential exposure and experience, from attending Carifesta in Haiti to catering for Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali. 

Munoz’s current role on the Prosperity FPSO with Newrest Guyana, the country’s premier offshore caterer and food supplier to the oil and gas sector, involves preparing meals for the crew—a task that demands not only culinary skills but also an understanding of the rigorous safety and operational protocols of the oil and gas industry.

“This has impacted me a lot. Working offshore, I cater to a diverse group, not just Guyanese. The training I received from Carnegie allows me to prepare a wide selection of cuisines—Italian, Creole, Chinese, and more,” Munoz explained.

The specialized training at the Carnegie School of Home Economics offers benefits that extend beyond immediate employment.

Graduates like Munoz are equipped with skills to succeed in the oil and gas industry and possess a broad set of competencies applicable in various other sectors, ensuring robust career prospects in a rapidly changing job market.

As Guyana’s energy industry continues to evolve, the demand for diverse skill sets is likely to increase. 

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