By Assan Bah
Professor Pierre Gomez, the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST), on Wednesday 13th December 2023, conducted a familiarization tour of the Malick Mendy Tailoring Centre and President’s International Awards (PIA) Skills Centre in Bakau, to gauge first-hand, the situation of the respective TVET institutions.
Alhagie Malick Mendy,the proprietor of Malick Mendy’s Tailoring centre said he started sewing for himself, his teachers and classmates, when he was twelve years old. That he later started his own center with one machine and a thousand Dalasi overdraft, as start-up capital.
“I trained all my staff without demanding any charges from them and after six months, I gave them stipend and supported them to open their own workshops,’’ Mr. Memdy said.He said his workshop now sews for some of the security institutions, Government officials and other private institutions, because the Centre has the skilled manpower and machines to do such jobs. That given what he wants from the government,he will create five-hundred jobs in 2026.
Prof. Gomez congratulated Mr. Mendy for being a role model to the youth of the country and said his center is a game changer because education must be functional. He called on other centers to emulate Mr Malick’s good work and minimize the theory and go for practicals. The MoHERST Minister called on the youth to emulate Mr. Mendy and believe in themselves in whatever they do, as he assured them of his ministry’s and government’s support, because the country has a technical problem that it needs to solve.
At the President’s International Awards (PIA) skills center in Bakau, Mr Famara Darboe, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors briefed the Minister on their programs and said young people are trained on skills such as tailoring, hairdressing, bakery, author mechanics, carpentry, electricals, metal work and shoe making. He said their objective is to ensure that young people acquire knowledge and skills that will help them create jobs.
“The institution provides training opportunities for young people to acquire skills and create employment opportunities for themselves. Here we do not teach them only theory, but they are as well trained on the practical aspect of what they specialized on,’’ Darboe said. He however called for support to develop the facility because some of the structures are old and expansion is needed for entrepreneurial skills development.
Prof. Gomez assured them of capacity building support from his Ministry and advised them to work on their marketting strategy to package and get more businesses. He called on Gambians to value skills training because he said for development to be sustainable, there needs to be equilibrium.