Canadian firm to begin major labour market project in Guyana

By Lincoln DePradine

A leading Ontario-based research and consultancy firm – Dunn, Pierre, Barnett & Company Canada Ltd. – is set to begin a major Labour Market Project in Guyana in early 2024, commissioned by the country’s ministry of education. The study aims to analyze the national workforce, identify skills gaps, and prepare for emerging economic sectors, including oil and gas, low-carbon technology, digital development, climate-resilient agriculture and ICT.

Justine C. Pierre

Dr. Justine C. Pierre, a director of the company and an ILO-trained labour statistician and researcher, expressed enthusiasm in leading the project, highlighting the significance of such studies as foundational for a country’s socio-economic planning and development.

He further emphasized that undertaking the research at this time is crucial to support Guyana’s transformation agenda as one of the fastest-growing world economies.

“These kinds of surveys are the formation of planning and developing a country,’’ Pierre told The Caribbean Camera. “These surveys must be conducted in order to develop your country.’’

The “National Skills Audit Consultancy on Guyana Strengthening Human Capital Through Education Project’’ will support the education ministry and the Council for TVET – technical and vocational education and training – in developing a strategy for effective national labour market management.

The project aligns with Guyana’s goal of understanding the skills landscape, enhancing workforce capabilities, and preparing for investments in education and TVET.

The anticipated outcomes will benefit the government, employers, and both national and foreign workers. This initiative is driven by the ongoing economic transformation in Guyana and the imperative to develop the required human capital for sustainable, green and inclusive growth.

The project will involve a rapid assessment of Guyana’s current workforce, with the goals of gaining a better understanding of skills demands and excess supply, equipping the labour force with the necessary skills, including digital and socioemotional skills; and, facilitating planned investments in secondary education and technical and vocational education and training.

The Canadian company will be responsible for collecting and analyzing relevant statistical and labour market data, as well as conducting surveys among employers and national institutions to identify labour shortages and available skills in the country.

Additionally, the survey will support the introduction of a new curriculum for Grades 7 to 9, the provision of textbooks for Grades 7-11, training for educators on teaching students with diverse needs, and the implementation of an instructional leadership and managerial program for principals.

Dunn, Pierre, Barnett & Company Ltd., in a news release, said it’s “committed to delivering a comprehensive final report on the survey results, providing insights on labour shortages, available skills, and concrete recommendations to enhance the future skills needs of Guyana’’.

The company’s team for the Guyana assignment is led by Dr. Pierre and supported by esteemed professionals such as Dr. Philomenia Harrison, retired Head of Statistics at CARICOM; Dr. Paulette Dunnpierre, CANTA and CARICOM, Regional expert on TVET; and Dr. Mark Bynoe, Economics, and Guyanese national. They will undertake the largest national skills audit ever conducted in the Caribbean region.

Upwards of 40 countries, including several Caribbean nations, have utilized the company’s services. The countries include Belize, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Grenada, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Pierre expects other Caribbean countries, and also the government of Canada, to follow Guyana’s example by conducting labour market and skills needs assessments to obtain accurate data on their populations.

“According to the World Bank, you cannot develop your country without doing a national labour market assessment. You cannot do it. That’s the first foundation for development,’’ said Dr. Pierre. “Every country which has developed, and any country that wants to develop, undertake these surveys.’’