Ousman Sillah, National Assembly Member for Banjul North, has disclosed that his Crab Island TVET Center initiative will start rolling out training on vocational skills for young people.
“In the next two weeks, we will start floating invitations for beneficiaries to apply and before the middle of September; we will start rolling out the training. And as I said, we have 7 course areas; we are ready to provide for 7 course areas. But we are not starting all the 7 as you know is a new institution. So, we are starting with few- about three, four [courses],” he said while speaking to The Gambia This Morning radio programme on GRTS last Friday (20 August 2021).
He said the International Trade Center (ITC) through YEP will fund the training “by paying the tuition of the trainees”, saying training is going to be free of charge for the trainees. Also, Sillah said they have started recruiting the administrative staff and in the next fortnight, they would start recruiting the teaching staff.
“So, we are ready to go and we are good to go. We are offering training based on Gambia’s Standards Qualification (GSQ) under the auspices of National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA). So, they would be issued with level one certificates of the training,” he said.
The Banjul North lawmaker said the project was conceived because he felt a need to contribute to closing the skills gap in the country for young people who are out there without skills and jobs. He said the center is a national institution that is going to provide services to people who need it and not necessarily those that live in Banjul even though they would be given consideration.
“It is a national institution. So, it is an initiative that is meant for young people between the ages of 16 and 35 who need skills, who are out of school either being dropouts or those who have completed but do not have skills for employment,” he explained.
Sillah said with the support of the government and the ministry of basic education and other partners, the initiative is at its finishing stage.
“In fact, almost everything is completed. The rehabilitation of the infrastructure was done thanks to MRC Holland of Henrietta Brummer Sonko, who came through the ministry, because for them they intervene in education, but they only do that through the Government of The Gambia. That is their mandate. So, they have done the infrastructure in the first phase, rehabilitating 8 classrooms that are ready for use now… in addition to that, they have also supported by providing furniture; very good, strong quality desks and chairs for the classrooms and of course the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TiKA), they have also supported by providing equipment and materials for the course areas that we are offering and we are ready to offer seven course technical skill areas,” Sillah explained.
Speaking further, Sillah said courses’ maximum is nine months, while minimum is six months. He further said after the graduation, the institution intends to look for support to help the graduates who wish to acquire skills and work for themselves.
“After the training we are expecting that there are two types of beneficiaries- the products of the institution and these are those who wish to acquire the skills and want to work for themselves. There are those who want to acquire the skills to be able to work for others. So those who want to work for themselves, they need support,” he said.
“So, the institution is going to accompany them. We are going to look for other partners, it could even be the same partners to see how we can help these young people, provide them with the basic tools to be able to operate. Like for instance let’s take hairdressing, they may need a salon, they may need the basic equipment, materials to start with…so the institution wants to accompany them with the assistance of other partners to help them acquire these tools to be able to start something.”