By Fatou O. Barrow
The National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) under the Ministry of Youth and Sports on Monday held a swearing-in ceremony of its second batch of youth apprenticeship training programme at the NYSS premises in Bakau.
A total of 151 youths from different regions of The Gambia took an oath of service for a two-year vocational skills training with the aim of learning different skills such as carpentry, tailoring, hairdressing and many more.
The training programme was funded by the Gambia government targeting youths between the ages of 15 to 35. The objective is to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Bakary Y. Badjie, said the training program will provide an opportunity to the youths, who might not have had the privilege to complete secondary school, a chance to learn skills that will enable them to be self-employed.
He said the rate of inadequate educational opportunities and unemployment in the country are one of the problems leading youths into antisocial or delinquent behaviours by abusing drugs and subsequently engaging in crimes.
Minister Badgie added that the Gambia government is aware of the challenges that youth are faced with and that they are doing what it takes to address the problems, particularly youth unemployment- which according to him is one of the many reasons why the government invests in such training programmes.
The Executive Director of National Youth Service Scheme, Emmanuel Mendy, said the programme attracted huge applicants. He said out of 362 applicants, 151 were lucky to be admitted into the programme due to limited funding
“The national youth servicescheme will continue to support young people to acquire skills in order to contribute to national development” he added.
Mendy also said the Corp members (trainees) will be assessed in line with the Gambia skills qualification framework for their competencies after the completion of the 24 months training programme. He challenged them to make the best use of the opportunity given to them.