The students who graduated on Wednesday lastEducation Minister Dr Nicolette Henry called on young persons to qualify themselves to take advantage of the wide scope of opportunities and possibilities provided by the evolution of new industries into Guyana’s economy.Her call came as she addressed 51 apprentices, including a lone female, who graduated from Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Port Mourant Training Centre (PMTC) on Wednesday last. The skilled young people are now equipped with both practical and theoretical knowledge.Minister Henry believes that this new generation is currently facing and will inevitably face faster changes and challenges in the world. Globalisation, the advent of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and the development of a knowledge-based economy are leading the changes at an unprecedented rate and scale.“These are skills and knowledge that you will need to get started in life, particularly in world of work. I have to also let you know that notwithstanding you being graduated here today, the road ahead will present challenges, which of course, you can turn into opportunities. Irrespective of your discipline of study, I ask you to give your very best and give back to your community. Let me take this opportunity to thank all of you in advance for your service to Guyana. I know that you will go on to do very well”.She further stated that the advancement of technical and vocational training, the increase of youth programmes across the country, and the financial allocations toward education all permeate the Ministry’s goal in ensuring that all Guyanese are equipped to embrace the evolution.She told the apprentices that their training was a step in the right direction in preparing them with the necessary skills to benefit Guyana.Meanwhile, Region Six Chairman David Armogan explained that it is not difficult to find someone who is an executive in an organisation outside of Guyana that passed through Port Mourant Training Center.“That alone tells you the level of training that you can get here”. He noted that over the years, GuySuCo has recognised the importance of producing skilled craft men and women to ensure that their operations were ongoing.“I recall that many other institutions and businesses in Guyana, including Banks DIH, would have sent apprentices here to get qualified and go back to their respective organisations to continue working. So, it not only provides a service for GuySuCo but also for many other industries within our country, and maybe the Caribbean should be thankful to us for exporting some of our graduates to their countries to keep their industries going”.He added that the apprentice scheme is not only designed to train high-quality craftsmen but also to instil the ethics of work and the discipline needed in employment in these young men and women.“Guyana cannot develop unless we have a full country of skilled persons readily available to take off of work in the organisations and industries that would be available in the country. Today, our country is poised for some level of higher prosperity because of the oil industry which is going to start getting into production sometime in 2020”.Since 1960, the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) had partnered with GuySuCo to make the Apprenticeship Programme a success. The programme seeks to enable persons to gain the technical competencies in numerous fields such as electrical, mechanic, and machinery among others.It is designed to satisfy the need for vocational/technical skills in field and factory.
GLENDALE – Facing a double-digit office space vacancy rate and empty storefronts amid a shakeout among national retailers, the city’s downtown seems a few steps behind the more vibrant centers of its neighbors. But city leaders remained bullish Thursday about the future, pointing to new development and businesses they say will spur a renaissance along the main commercial drag of Brand Boulevard. Some are pinning their hopes on Caruso Affiliated’s mixed-use Americana at Brand, a new Embassy Suites hotel and other projects. Also, a new land-use plan is in place that could attract more residential development that city officials believe could encourage activity 24 hours a day. “We are no longer going to be sitting by while they go forward,” said City Councilman Bob Yousefian, addressing some 200 developers and business owners at the Invest in Glendale seminar sponsored by city government. But for city Development Director Phil Lanzafame, opportunity lies just below the surface. He estimated there is demand for 1 million square feet of top-class office space in Los Angeles County, and Glendale is poised to help fill that, with its proximity to Los Angeles and access to public transportation. “There is a lot of demand for space in the general Tri-City area,” he said. “With Pasadena and Burbank pretty full, Glendale has a chance bouncing from that.” In fact, office space vacancy was reduced by 200,000 square feet in the past six weeks, with tenants including HSBC Bank, MetLife and Kaiser Health Care moving to Brand. That leaves the current vacancy rate at roughly 11 percent, Lanzafame said, and he expects a drop to a single digit by midyear. Affordablity is a factor. Rent in Glendale is $2.58 per square foot, behind $3.18 in Pasadena and $3.01 in Burbank. “Countywide, there isn’t much in the way of new office space being developed,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. “Glendale could have space available at competitive rates, and that could be an advantage.” As for retail along the downtown corridor, both Kyser and Lanzafame say the market remains strong despite vacancies driven in part by competition among national retailers. Though the Tower Records store closed after its parent filed for bankruptcy, Walgreens has assumed the lease for a drugstore, Lanzafame said. A BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery is preparing to lease the shuttered Chevys storefront. “There is a lot of turmoil there,” Kyser said. “You have companies trying to adjust to an intense environment, and you have landlords jacking up the lease rates. … It doesn’t signify any inherent weakness for Glendale. “When the Americana at Brand opens, you’re going to be drawing a lot of traffic.” Caruso’s $324 million, 15.5-acre development, expected to open in spring 2008, will bring upscale retail and 338 apartments to downtown. Still, the project could cause turnover for retailers and restaurants near the center. “The Americana, being a typical Caruso development, is going to be very user-friendly,” Kyser said. “There is going to be some turnover in the retail (businesses) that are close by. … The suit mart may not make it, and the kebab palace may not make it – that’s sad. These are businesses just trying to make a living. But there will be another place (for) them in the city.” email@example.com (818) 546-3304160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “They” meant the cities of Burbank and Pasadena, which in recent years have invested in residential, retail and office projects for their urban cores. At the end of 2006, Glendale had a 16.2 percent vacancy rate for top-class office space, compared with 4.7 percent in Pasadena and 3.6 percent in Burbank, according to commercial real estate firm Grubb & Ellis. Several large retail spaces in Glendale are empty where Tower Records, CompUSA and a restaurant in the Chevys Fresh Mex chain used to do business. Some smaller shops along Brand have closed, with tenants priced out of their spaces. And few people call downtown home, with old zoning making residential development difficult. All these factors contributed to the situation today, according to local developer Roobik Ovanesian. “(Office workers) are there for morning coffee, lunch, and they’re going home,” he said. “When you have a 16 percent office vacancy, you just lost a lot of clients for coffee, lunch and maybe dinner.”