June 19, 2019
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Commissioner of the National Youth Commission (NAYCOM), Thomas Ngolo Katta, has stated that the commission was underpinning the seriousness of entrepreneurship in unfolding the economy and development of the country.
“Almost 40% of the country’s population that constitutes over two million seven hundred young people required given the capacity to lead in the development of the country,” he said.
Commissioner Katta was yesterday, Tuesday, June 18th speaking at his Freetown Office while addressing young graduates’ participants in a two- day training workshop on entrepreneurship skills with the theme ‘building public awareness of entrepreneurship as a key strategy for building community wealth through community action plan.’
He said the National Youth Commission was leading the important activity and that in partnership with the Africa Development Bank, they were running a project call Employment and Empowerment Programme YEEP.
He added that the project gives opportunity to young people especially university graduates to be empowered in entrepreneurship programming.
He said the project has a series of component and the core of its component was being undertaken by one of their partners, an Italian company that was dealing with the skills development component.
He further that in the skills development component, there were series of activities that would be undertaken and that they have also identified three skills in the hospitality and tourism sectors.
He continued that they be virtually relating with the Milton Margai College of Education and Technology in the areas of hospitality and tourism.
He further cited the construction and energy sector as other areas they would focus on and that they were also looking at TVET engagement with the Eastern Polytechnic and other institutions.
He said they would also be focusing on the agro sector, especially in the aqua culture and that they wanted to undertake fish farming in the country with the aim to raise the nutritional level of citizens.
He said the project would further focus on career advancement and guardians, noting that the career aspect was to support universities in Sierra Leone to be able to guide young people to understand how they would go through transition from school to work.
He said for them at NAYCOM, the career aspect was one of the most important of the project because most of the young people in the university don’t know what they wanted to do as career, noting that some of them had had the opportunity in securing job without work ethics.
He said already, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) they had set up structures in the universities to engage and talk to young people on how to make their careers, adding that they will be training councilors that will be talking to young people in the various universities.
He disclosed that they were trying to re-engage to give a different meaning to Technical Vocational Education Training TVET in Sierra Leone, adding that if the country has to reach middle income country by 2035 and give confidence to young people, TVET was important to the development of young people in the country.
In his presentation, consultant for the project, Joseph Kpakiwa, said the project focuses on strengthening entrepreneurship and creating employment for the young by supporting Sierra Leone in creating integrated system in the education and vocational institutions.
He said the project would train twenty TVET instructors, provide career guidance and counselling to 2,400 youth, train at least one hundred graduates to enhance supervisory skills in collaboration with private sector partners.
He further stated that they would also train 150 youth in three selected priority skills needed by the private sector and also support 60 youth to start and manage businesses through mentoring.
The Youth Employment and Empowerment Programme (YEEP), initiated in 2011, was built on UNDP’s extensive post-war experience supporting the empowerment of Sierra Leone’s youth.
It is designed to strengthen national policy, strategy and coordination for youth employment and seeks to provide basic support services for youth across the country, including business development and career advice and guidance.