05 May 2006 Work safety course is a new beginning for ORT Venezuela The health and safety training of 40 tennis club workers in Caracas has brought a fresh sense of optimism to ORT Venezuela. The 40-hour Security, Hygiene and Environment Course, for employees of the Altamira Tennis Club, has been designed by ORT Venezuela to give graduates a good understanding of the work-related value of security and health issues. Founded in 1964, ORT Venezuela has boasted financial and educational success through most of its existence. However, recent radical political changes in the oil-rich country have seen the cancellation of income-generating government contracts and the imposition of financially onerous employment regulations that together have forced the organisation to the brink of bankruptcy. World ORT Coordination Department Head Vladimir Dribinskiy welcomed the courses successful implementation. This is a sign of positive change, a sign of recovery despite ongoing difficulties, Mr Dribinskiy said. It shows that the ORT name is still synonymous in Venezuela with educational and training excellence. An Altamira Tennis Club employee receives his ORT certificate.. Course graduates received their certificates from ORT Venezuelas Director Rodolfo Osers, Project Coordinator Juan Toledo and Board member Miguel Pinkas. The Altamira Tennis Club was represented by its President, Daniel Passaro, its General Manager Jorge Seijas and Treasurer Roman Gonzalez. World ORT Director General Robert Singer, who visited Venezuela this year, said the organisation had suffered from a Catch 22 situation. ORT Venezuela has been a very devoted and honoured member of ORTs worldwide family with extremely successful operations in both Jewish and non-Jewish communities. It has always been self-sufficient and able to pay its membership contributions to World ORT, Mr Singer said. Now, cancelled government contracts have left them without an income while they are being forced to pay very generous severance packages in redundancy cases and to continue to pay salaries to retained staff. It is heartening to see that the personal sacrifices and commitment of ORT Venezuelas staff and lay leaders, together with the aid we have extended to them, is already beginning to show results. Last year, ORT Venezuela trained a total of 1,455 students in four centres a 29 per cent increase on the previous year despite a 58 per cent downsizing. World ORT, founded in 1880, is the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-government organisation with some 270,000 students Jewish and non-Jewish in 58 countries.