When last week began, Andrew Abbensetts, Kenroy Robinson, and Esther Eusebio were leading somewhat normal lives for young adults in Guyana; each day, Andrew would head further into the interior where he worked as a foreman for his father’s mining company while Kenroy and Esther would do their chores around their homes, helping out where necessary.
Little did they know that, by the end of the week, they would be preparing to leave their communities and families behind to participate in a four year apprenticeship programme with the Guyana Power and Light Inc.
The trio all hail from the Upper-Takutu-Upper Essequibo region, commonly known as Region #9; Andrew, 17, is from Tabatinga; Kenroy, 19, is from St. Ignatius, while Esther, 17, has her roots in Shulinab Village.
The youngsters were the three selected from their region as part of a new initiative sparked by the Lethem Power Company (LMPC), in conjunction with the education officers of Region #9.
The programme is one of training and development; Andrew, Kenroy, and Esther will be trained in mechanical and electrical technologies to not only facilitate their professional developments but also to enhance LMPC’s technical skills capacity as well as develop the region as a whole.
For the group of youths, the opportunity is a golden one for them to pursue something they had always been interested in.
For each, the apprenticeship came as a complete surprise and they were all contacted by someone they knew within the education system. At the time, educators within the region were looking for recent graduates with lots of potential in the electricity sector. Andrew was contacted by his former headmistress from Aishalton Secondary School; Esther also received a call from her former headmistress from St. Ignatius Secondary while Kenroy heard of the opportunity through his cousin, an educator within the region.
They were all asked if they were interested in the programme and they all responded with enthusiasm. From there, everything was a whirlwind of activity. Just days after receiving and accepting their offers, the youths were in Georgetown and were being acquainted with their new place of employ. It was a somewhat difficult experience for them, with much to do – including making travel and accommodation arrangements – in a short period of time.
“It was really tough; we didn’t have much time to organise,” Esther said.
However, they all believe it would be worth it.
For Esther, the opportunity is not only one to develop herself but to send a staunch message. “Most of my female colleagues don’t have aims or interests in this sort of work. What pushed me is that not many women were in this field,” Esther said. She said too that, during her recent visit to GPL, she met five other women in the field, which buoyed her confidence and made her eager for what the next four years have in store.
She added that the support of her family also buoyed her. “They pushed me to take up the apprenticeship offer. I know I am going to miss them though.”
Kenroy said that he would also miss his family but he is already mentally prepared for what lies ahead. “Working in this field was always my aim, since I was in school, so I’m ready.”
For Andrew, the apprenticeship is his chance to step outside of the box. “I wanted to do something different from what everyone else was doing. I always like being unique in my own way,” he said.
For the next four years, they will gain both theoretical and practical training. For the first three years, the training will take place primarily in Georgetown, with the fourth and final year of training occurring at the LMPC Power System in Lethem.
LMPC is providing part-sponsorship for these students in the form of a monthly stipend, travelling and other allowances. GPL has agreed to help with safety gears and the training cost.
The trio will begin training on Monday February 22, 2016. Though they all admitted to being nervous, they also shared that they were excited to see where their journey takes them.