Guyana: Employment: Where are the people for the jobs? – By Adam Harris

Not so long ago there was talk about the young people not finding jobs; that there were no jobs. Indeed, many young people left school and could not find a job consistent with the skills they developed.

Those who did not do too well academically had parents who did not want them to stay at home, so these parents found places in technical institutes, and in schools like the Carnegie School of Home Economics.

Others sent their children to work with some friend or relative who were masons, carpenters and contractors. Many young employees entered as labourers and graduated as they learned the trade. But for the greater part there were so many who simply did not seem inclined to take a job. This may sound harsh, but it is true.         

Last week a reporter visited the employment exchange and found that of the three thousand job seekers, more than a thousand were placed with job centres. Again, this had to do with the skills with which the young people were endowed.

For starters, I have found that many young people simply cannot write an application. A poor application to a potential employer is as good as no application. The spelling and grammatical mistakes were enough to ensure that the application end up in the waste basket.

There are call centres in Guyana, so those young people who enroll into computer classes develop the skills needed at the call centres. The unfortunate thing is that they do not last long, because these centres often use a trick.

After a promised period of internship, there is supposed to be an increase in pay. But because of the large number of people available, the call centres would simply let the recruit go. This is something that the Labour Department may want to investigate.

However, there are many who work for a few weeks and simply leave the job. They cannot cope with the discipline in the workplace. There is a certain time that one must report for work. There are also a certain number of hours which must be completed. Many simply cannot appreciate these rules.

Media houses are always seeking reporters. In fact, outside of the call centres, I do not believe that there are any other places with such a high rate of turnover.

Recently, I examined the performance of some young people who came to work with my media entity. Some lacked the ability to think. They were pretty good at regurgitating what was said. However, none saw the need to check on some of the statements made by the various presenters.

I would say to them that there is no substitute for reading and research. These days with the computer, research is at the finger tips. But for some of the young people, it may very well be that you are asking them to access the moon.

When the pressure builds, some simply walk off. There is no thought about a slow cent being better than a quick dollar. There is no acceptance of the fact that a half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. Young people simply walk away from a pay cheque to sit idly at home.
There are vacancies in the education system, but it is a Herculean task to get young people to gravitate to teaching. They find excuses.
The police force and the army are not places to which many parents would direct their young children. The pay is good. But then again, there are those who enter these services, develop skills, and then transfer them to the criminal enterprise.

There are too many reports of ex-policemen or ex-soldiers being caught up in the criminal enterprise. At one stage I began to conclude that most of the criminals were either ex-policemen or ex-soldiers.

Just the other day there was a report of a serving policeman operating as a getaway driver for a group of robbers. Unfortunately, he was transporting a man who had sustained a gunshot.

Indeed, Governments try to find jobs for the young people, but some only stay on the job for a brief period. One young man who is now dead had just got a job with a carpenter. Sadly, when he received his first pay cheque the first thing he did was to procure a gun.
His friends later told me that he merely wanted a job so that he could buy a gun. He got killed in South Ruimveldt during a robbery.

And he is not the only one who thinks like that. No longer do young people get a job which they could use as a stepping stone to other legitimate jobs.

Knowing the situation, I smile when I see the election campaign promises about providing 30,000 jobs. In the first instance I do not know where these souls would come from.

Glenn Lall would often say that people do not want to work. He spoke about being unable to find watchmen and labourers, despite advertising and seeking the help of friends.

I see the notices and advertisements in the newspapers running for days and wonder why there are no takers. Something must be wrong.
It may be about the pay. Some people often say that they cannot work for a certain sum of money. I suppose that is why they venture into the gold fields or seek out minibus owners.

But even in the case of the latter, the indiscipline is evident. On Friday, a magistrate sent a minibus driver to jail because he was undisciplined enough to disgorge school children without stopping. Indeed, there is the ubiquitous cell phone video. Just about everything is recorded.

Even the fight that proved near fatal was caught on camera, because people do not intervene anymore. So it was that the person with the camera recorded the children jumping out of the minibus which failed to stop.

This enterprising individual then forwarded the video to the police. The rest is history. The driver would be spending the next six months in jail. His conductor managed to escape.

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  • brandli62  On 01/28/2020 at 11:37 am

    If the views of Adam Harris on the work moral of young Guyanese reflect indeed the truth, then it will be difficult to grow the country in the coming years. In the past, limit public funds were a major reason for slow economic development and unemployment in the country. This is about the change in the coming years. If the local labor market cannot supply the necessary labor, immigrations from neighbouring Caribbean nations will have to compensate for labor shortages. This could generate dissatisfaction in Guyana. Hence, measures have to be taken to prevent this situation.

    In my opinion, young people, who completed formal school, should get the opportunity to qualify for German-style vocational training programs known as apprenticeships, which are setup as private-public partnerships. Apprenticeships enable public school graduates to learn the necessary skills of a trade at a qualified employer. These programs encompass also mandatory trade school attendance. Successful graduates are usually very attractive on the job market. Hence, youth unemployment in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands is exceptionally low.

    Here are some links with further information:

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