Sunday, September 24, 2023

Lone bidder poised to conduct Guyana skills audit

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Ontario-based Dunn, Pierre Barnett & Company Canada Ltd has stepped forward in response to Guyana’s Ministry of Education’s call for technical and financial proposals to conduct a national skills audit for the South American nation. 

A bid from the firm was recorded by Guyana’s National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) on September 7, 2023.

The consultancy firm is no stranger to providing its services in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region. It has lent expertise to countries including St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. In 2019, the firm was commissioned by Guyana’s Ministry of Education to craft a training programme tailored for the Master Trainers within the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system.

With Guyana now being the fastest growing economy in the world, driven by an oil boom, the national skills audit comes at a pivotal time. The nation’s offshore oil production is expanding, ushering in significant wealth but also presenting novel challenges. The overarching objective behind the audit is to bolster human development strategies.

The funds for this project are expected to be sourced from a World Bank loan, earmarked under the Guyana Strengthening Human Capital Through Education Project. The consultant will have to conduct a rapid evaluation of Guyana’s current workforce, discerning skills voids, and ascertaining potential needs for migrant labour.

The comprehensive six-month study will amalgamate insights from desk and field research, primary data acquisition, statistical labor demand analysis, and qualitative information from in-depth interactions with pivotal local authorities, private sector stakeholders, academia, and civil society.

The audit is significant for the updating of benchmarks set in Guyana’s Local Content Act. This Act enshrines quotas for Guyanese participation in the oil and gas sector. Beyond oil, assessment is poised to guide Guyana’s human development trajectory, especially concerning curricula at the University of Guyana and scholarship initiatives. The government has set its sights on making the University of Guyana tuition-free by 2025. In parallel, a grandiose plan is in progress to gift thousands of Guyanese citizens scholarships for global online university courses.

The Migration Policy Institute estimated that to maintain its economic momentum, Guyana would require an influx of at least 160,000 additional workers. Given the country’s demographic constraints, a significant portion of this workforce will be sourced internationally, with an emphasis on reconnecting with its expansive diaspora.

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