By Ndey Sowe
Eight hundred and sixty (860) Gambian youths are set to benefit from the European Union (EU) fully funded Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.
Stakeholders on Wednesday, 13th October, 2021 launched the third model “SKYE Fund Programme”, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa through the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and Jobs Skills and Finance, implemented by the International Trade Center (ITC) in coordination with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Trade.
The third cycle of the SKYE Funds is set aside for the sponsorship of new technical and vocational training opportunities for 860 Gambian youths who are not in employment, education or training, and youths and women interested in enhancing their skills.
The SKYE Fund is a results-based competitive funding model that ensures training graduates meet industry requirements, or in the case of self-employment, successfully meet market opportunities.
“The support comprises twenty-three programs that will be delivered in partnership with 9 TVET institutions under the overall guidance and supervision of MOHERST and NAQAA,” said Modou Touray, the Technical Adviser and Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at the International Trade Center.
Touray added that the SYKE model was launched in 2018 and two cycles of TVET scholarship have already been rolled out. He explained that as part of the first cycle, 804 youths graduated from skills training centers and 500 jobs were created, and 158 young Gambians were supported through the provision of start-up tool kits. In the second cycle, he said 920 youths were enrolled and are expected to graduate in October 2021.
“Youth unemployment and underemployment is one of the defining development challenges in the Gambia. The 2018 Labour Force Survey recorded a youth unemployment rate of 41.5%. The share of young people who are not employed and are not involved in education or any training activities was estimated at 56.8%,” remarked Ridwane Abdul Rahman, Programme Manager European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
Abdul Rahman said he is pleased that they are in a position to launch a new round of training programs under the SKYE Fund, adding the training programs will cover a wide range of areas and respond to current demands and requirements in the job market.
Mod MK. Secka, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Higher Education, said skills development is central to the development of The Gambia and the TVET sector is the bedrock for employment and growth.
“About two years back the Ministry of Higher education with support from the International Trade Center and the European Union, validated the TVET Roadmap. The Roadmap was built through an inclusive process with all stakeholders. It sets out strategic actions to improve relevant, quality and accessibility of technical vocational and education training in The Gambia,” he said.
He added that the SKYE Fund has become a key instrument in operationalizing the roadmap and achieving this vision.
Lamin B. Manneh, deputizing the CEO of NAQAA, applauded all partners for their incredible support and expressed hope that there will be more support accorded to TVET institutions in meeting and maintaining national standards to ensure continuous and continual quality enhancement within TVET in The Gambia.