Minister of State, Mr. Joseph Harmon, today, challenged administrative professionals to advance their training and education and to make themselves relevant and indispensable in the 21st century, where information and communication technology is rapidly replacing humans in various sectors. He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the 23rd Annual Administrative Professionals Workshop, which was held at the Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown.
The event was organised by Zoywins Consultancy and Training, a company based in New York and is owned by Guyanese, Ms. Mavis Benn, in observance of Administrative Professionals Day 2018, which was held under the theme, “Become a valued Administrative Professional”.
Minister Harmon noted that the theme for this year’s observance is appropriate as the only way administrative professionals can remain relevant and assets to their organisations is to engage in continuous training and capacity building and to acquaint themselves with new competencies.
“A question today may be asked, how relevant and important is the role of our administrative professionals in this age of information and communication technology and automation? The answer, surprisingly, is that the role of administrative professionals remains relevant and critical to the efficient running of the office… I am therefore heartened to see the wide cross section of administrative professionals from both the private and public sectors taking part in today’s training sessions. As administrative professionals, training is crucial for improving and upgrading your skills. The importance of regularly attending training courses is vital for your own confidence and motivation and it will prevent you from becoming stagnant in your respective careers,” he said.
The Minister of State noted that most administrative professionals do not pursue training regularly enough. He said that in most cases, it is not that their organisations are unwilling to allow them but rather, there isn’t enough interest in their own personal development. As a result of this, Minister Harmon noted that they stymie their own development and the realisation of their true potential.
“To the participants, I say that your presence here today is an indication that you are taking your career development seriously and as this year’s theme suggests, you are determined to become a valued administrative professional. I take this opportunity to urge you to invest in developing yourselves personally and professionally on an ongoing basis. Investing in the human capital of our country is one of our highest priorities,” Minister Harmon noted.
Minister Harmon said that the Government is fully cognisant of the importance of the public service in the transformation of Guyana. He said that the need for reform of the public service was also recognised, since it was found that it lacked the required level of efficiency and that there were disparities in the quality of services delivered in the hinterland and on the coast.
“I must iterate that our administration, in its quest to recreate a highly skilled and professional public service, has taken several initiatives to build capacity of our public servants such as the Bertram Collins Staff College as well as a vast increase in the number of local and overseas scholarships and training programmes. In addition, work is being done on a continuing basis to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into the public service to improve the delivery of public services to the citizens of Guyana. I would also like to see Zoywins expand its net and take its training efforts to our hinterland and indigenous communities to assist them to develop their human resource capacities to enable them to keep abreast with the implementation of information communication technology and to improve the delivery of public services to those communities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Social Protection, Ms. Amna Ally, in her remarks, said that administrative professionals play a critical role in the effective functioning of any office, whether Government or private sector.
“I must say that it takes a truly special bunch of individuals with unique skills; skills to do your important job well. Most of you are the backbone of your organisation, hardworking and critical to team members who ensure that the day-to-day activities runs smoothly and efficiently for others. Many days you are expected to be a mind reader, a miracle worker, and all the like. As the world grows even more connected, it’s essential to have smart, shrewd people keeping a close watch on the increasingly complex day-to-day operations of our offices. And of course, senior management would be hapless without the admin staff working behind the scenes as planners, gate keepers and secret fixers,” she said.
Minister Ally said that the Government of Guyana intends to equip the workforce with the skills required for the jobs of today and those of tomorrow that will contribute to the national growth and the sustainable development outlooks for Guyana and will therefore, continue to make substantial investments to ensure that it’s human capital, especially employees within the public service, possess the skills, knowledge and resources they are required to perform their functions with the highest level of professionalism, integrity and the delivery of superior client service within the public service.
Meanwhile, Zoywins Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Mavis Benn, who once served as the Mayor of Georgetown, said that the workshop is designed to allow participants to have fun while at the same time learning how to maximise their skills, to communicate with respect, remain calm when dealing with difficult situations or people and how to maintain healthy lifestyles. The seminar touches on topics such as the mind set for success, the ability to communicate effectively, being ethical, service-focused and practicing wellness in the workplace.
Administrative Professionals Day is observed internationally on Wednesday of the last week of April each year (the last week of April is designated Administrative Professionals Week). This annual observance was first held in the United States in 1952 as National Secretary’s Week and National Secretary’s Day. In the year 2000, the names were changed to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day to reflect the changing titles and expanding responsibilities of the modern administrative workforce.