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UNIDO,Japan to train auto-mechanics in Sierra Leone

March 30, 2021
By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Japan, on Tuesday March 23 signed an agreement to establish ultra-modern centre to train over ten thousand Sierra Leonean auto-mechanics.
The agreement will help bridge the skills gap in the country’s automotive aftermarket sector (spare parts, accessories, and components for motor vehicles) and to promote decent employment opportunities for youth.
The project focuses on developing a system that can train youths in demand-driven automotive technician and entrepreneurship skills and so promote employment and self-employment. Training centres will be established that will serve as centres of excellence for the trade.

Speaking at the signing of the notes of agreement at State House, Japan Ambassador to Sierra Leone, HIMENO Tsutomu, said Japan’s philosophy of supporting their friends is to help their empowerment, stating that skills development is a crucial element for development.
He said Japan was very happy to collaborate with UNIDO and the Government of Sierra Leone to have such project, noting that the project was as a result of the good outcome of  President Julius Maada Bio’s visit to Japan to attend the TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) meeting in 2019”.

Also speaking, UNIDO Country Representative to Sierra Leone, Mariatu Abionor Swaray, said TVET has been at the heart of any country’s structural transformation and serves as the catalyst for enhanced employment opportunities, higher productivity, learning and innovation, and exports expansion for technology spill overs.
She said UNIDO is fully supporting the Government of Sierra Leone to enhance the meaningful structural transformation of the automotive repair and maintenance industry.
The UNIDO project focuses on developing a system that can train youth in demand-driven automotive technician and entrepreneurship skills and so promote employment and self-employment.

Training centres will be established that will serve as centres of excellence for the trade.
Chief Minister, Prof David John Francis said he was happy that the 2019 TICAD meeting attended by President Bio resulted to a support from the Government of Japan through UNIDO to build ultra-modern training centres in the country that will benefit more than 10,000 youths.
“In a country where youths constitute a third of the population, according to the United Nations Development Programme, youth unemployment and underemployment stands at a staggering 70 per cent. Out of a workforce of more than 2.7 million people, approximately 800,000 youths are actively searching for employment today. The ever-increasing number of vehicles in Sierra Leone points to a great potential for growth in the automotive repair and maintenance service sector and thus for job creation. However, the sector struggles to find workers who are able to meet the relevant auto mechanic skills requirements,” he said.

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