Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson says while Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is gaining a fresh look and commitment in the country, the government is reforming the sector through the help of her partners, the European Union, China Aid, among others, who are supporting the government.
Minister Wilson made the statement when he delivered the keynote address at a brief ceremony that marked the closing of a 45-day supplementary training organized by the Chinese Overseas Vocational and Skills Training on Saturday, December 15, 2018.
He informed the 119 graduates (advanced training in electricity, auto mechanic and construction) at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) that, “As we work to improve the sector, we are also giving serious thought to how our graduates from various institutions; they can have opportunities for applying their skills and generate income for themselves and their families.”
Minister Wilson, who examined the TVET as a viable path for youth entrepreneurship, said the government is committed to providing opportunities for advancement of the young people and believe that TVET must lead the way in providing training opportunities and career advancement avenues for young people, serving as a pipeline for providing skilled manpower that is needed for development.
“As part of our commitment to provide learning opportunities through market-driven TVET, we are focused on reforming and modernizing our TVET sector so that we standardize our training curricula, provide training opportunities for our teaching staff, assist our TVET institutions to be sources for income generation, furnish the institutions with modern equipment and promote excellence through standardized certification across TVET institutions in the formal and informal sectors in the country,” he said.
He added that parallel to the transformation in “our TVET sector is the need to make our graduates more self-sufficient. In the coming years, while the total number of people employed in the public sector is expected to increase as the economy gets larger, the percentage increase in people employed in government is expected to decline over time. This means that government does not have the means or the resources to employ all of you our TVET graduates.”
He said that is why it is important that “we do all we can to not only provide quality TVET but also to teach and encourage you to be entrepreneurs, to enhance your self-reliance.”
Wilson said he is in the process of seeking buy-in for the National Youth Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Program (NYEEP).
“The Program is designed to improve skills development and entrepreneurship development and management. It has three components which are Youth Entrepreneurship Development and Management Program, The National Cadet Program and the National Youth Service Program.
“Of relevance to entrepreneurship development and management is the first component of the program. Through this component, we expect youths from communities to organize themselves into Business Groups of seven each, produce a viable business plan and receive between $2,000 – $3,500 loans to start-up a business enterprise that they will operate and manage.”
Minister Wilson said the loan is expected to be paid back within two years without interest and 5% interest after two years. This is an important program for the Ministry and we hope it can be operationalized to provide a helping hand to some of our enterprising young people – some of whom are among you the graduates today.”
He used the occasion to also call on other organizations – private and public, non- governmental and international to not just think about hiring these skilled young people from “our vocational institutions, but also prioritize the provision of entrepreneurial training, initial capital, tools and other forms of assistance to enable them to apply their skills for income generation through self-reliance.”