The Vice of the Republic of Liberia, Madam Jewel Howard Taylor has hailed the ArcelorMittal Liberia for the official launch of a modern vocational training center in the mining town of Yekepa.
Speaking at the launching ceremony on Friday, September 21, 2018, Mrs. Taylor said her gratitude to AML on behalf of the government and the citizens, not only for the construction and opening of the facility, but for remaining in Liberia at the difficult time of Ebola, where many companies folded their materials and left.
“I believe that when the story is told on the Renaissance of our beautiful nation, your story will be one of our successes,” she said.
“Our government looks forward to working through challenges which may arise and celebrating with you in a good time,” she added.
VP Taylor, who toured the multimillion-dollar facility in amazement said, “please remember that we look forward to seeing the day when qualified Liberians will be given the opportunity to serve in the positions of middle and top management position here at Mittal Steel, where the facility will be enlarged to host, not just a few students, but hundreds and become a training center for training of trainers who can be deployed to other facilities across the nation.”
The new vocational training center will cater to young adults in various technical disciplines, including electrical workshop, diesel mechanic and mechanical fitting.
Student Sam K. Dehmie lauded the company for the training, saying, “with this opportunity which I dearly hold with my two hands, I am certain that Liberians will benefit significantly within the industrial sector of our economy.”
“This program is part of the company’s social development and youth empowerment initiative and AML has invested US$7 million in building the center and will spend approximately US$800,000 per year for its operations and maintenance,” said Dawie Loots, Manager & Trainer at the VTC.
Mrs. Taylor reminded the citizens that Liberia’s first comprehensive national policy on Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET), along with its 5-year operational plan, was launched in May, 2015.
“Ours is to ensure full implementation of this national policy and ensure it is practical and well suited to the job trajectory of our economic pursuit,” she added.
Other government officials, representing Ministers of Education, Labor, Lands and Mines, Public Works, Youth, as well as Deputy Youth and Sport Minister Peter Bemah, also extolled ArcelorMittal Liberia for the rehabilitation of the noble vocational center, with Public Works calling on the company to include other disciplines.
The vocational training, which started in 2016 and covered 47 students, is expected to last for three years, where one of the trainers, only identified as Viklot, told the Daily Observer that the training is up to international standard and certificates will be also at the degree level.
“Our apprentices, especially those in the electrical department will [gain experience] controlling advanced electrical components,” he said.
However, Representative Joseph Sonwabi has also praised the company for the program, but urged the management to expand the program, provide more employment opportunities for the citizens, instead of keeping them as contractors or permanent contractors.