“Look to our women population” – CLBD Director urges, to bridge 53,000 skilled worker gap 

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Dr. Natasha Gaskin-Peters, Director of the Centre for Local Business Development (CLDB), has called on Guyana to leverage its women population to address a looming skilled labor shortage. She appeared on a May 9 episode of the Energy Perspectives Podcast hosted by the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo’s Chief Executive Officer, Kiana Wilburg. 

Dr. Gaskin-Peters highlighted the need for over 53,000 workers in the next five years to support key sectors such as oil and gas, construction, transportation, and agriculture. 

 “We need over 53,000 plus new workers across only five sectors that we looked at and there are 22 sectors in the economy,” she stated.

This number was derived from the ‘Guyana Skilled Labor Assessment Study’ conducted by the Centre.

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The Centre’s study partners included the University of Guyana, key government ministries and private sector associations. 

“We really got everyone together,” Dr. Gaskin-Peters said, noting the critical funding from the Greater Guyana Initiative that enabled the study.

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Dr. Gaskin-Peters emphasized the importance of training local talent, particularly women who are currently underrepresented in the workforce. “Quite a lot of women are still within the unpaid work,” she said. Dr. Gaskin-Peters suggested policies such as improved childcare services to support women entering the job market. “Women are very concerned about their kids, so they may not want to leave home to find employment.”

The CLBD head said the government initiated some training and childcare support services but believes more needs to be done. “Broadening some of those initiatives would be quite good as we think forward to how we get more and more women into the job market,” she stated. “As the government looks to import talent, also look to our women.”

Dr. Gaskin-Peters also stressed the need for better information dissemination about job opportunities and support for application processes. “Something as simple as information flow to folks is one that we can really tackle early on,” she said.

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Guyanese authorities have been encouraging the upskilling of women for the growing opportunities in the nation’s booming economy—initiatives like the Accelerate Her program launched by the Centre help to foster this. 

It is a professional development initiative for women entrepreneurs. It aims to foster business success and personal growth through a series of weekly courses on marketing and pitch development, specialized business courses, coaching, and one-on-one mentorship.

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