The Government of Liberia (GoL), through its line ministries and agencies responsible for youth activities and job placement, gives big hope to graduates of technical and vocational education training (TVET) in the country.
Government says it is concerned about welfare of TVET graduates, who are sitting and doing nothing, so it has identified means by which they can be absorbed into various government projects relative to their areas of specialization and study.
The promise was made during a mass meeting held between the government and TVET graduates at the Samuel Kanyan Doe Sports Complex (SKD) in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
Speaking at the meeting, which brought together thousands of graduates of various technical and vocational schools across the country, Youth and Sports Minister, Mr. D. Zeogar Wilson, says government will not only provide placement for these graduates, but will also provide innovative ideas by which they can be absorbed into the job market.
Min. Wilson recalls that youth development is captured in the government’s development agenda – the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), stressing that the initiative is in line with that agenda.
“Even if government cannot take all of you, we are going to create an environment where you would become marketable. So, this is an interactive meeting that would allow us get some information about you,” he asserts.
“We want to see how best we can link you with some of these government’s projects that are ongoing across the country. We want to do everything in our power to ensure that we find a job for you so that you can in return, feed your family,” he continues.
“In addition to what we will be doing to empower you, we want to encourage you to form a cooperative so that you can have a united force. And we will make sure that through this means you will also be able to get into the system,” he promises.
He says one of the cardinal reasons for the meeting is to create a database that will capture all graduates of TVET.
“Because we have a responsibility to you, we will continue to play our part. So let’s take this exercise very seriously as we, as government, has the responsibility to create the opportunity,” he adds.
Public Works Minister, Mobutu Vlah Nyepan, says the initiative is the best way forward for the young people of Liberia and a way for inclusive participation.
He vows the Ministry of Public Works’ commitment to include graduates of TVET in ongoing government projects across the country.
“Hence, beginning now, every construction work under the supervision or control of the Ministry of Public Works, we will liaise with you to give us the names of TVET graduates so that we can include them,” Min. Nyepan pledges.
“Your training is not in vain; your qualification is not in vain because we have a lot to do in this country. We have 12,000 kilometers of roads and out of that only 800 kilometers are paved, so we have a lot to do and you will be considered fully in our programs. My message is, don’t despair; don’t be deterred.”
But amidst the many promises by the government, many of the students are still skeptical whether these promises are real or just another political statement intended to boost the image of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government.
“We have been listening to these kinds of promises from the past government and we continue to hear it even more, since the inception of this government, but nothing much has been done about our wellbeing. Sir, how then should we trust this one,” Miatta Sambola, a female TVET graduate asks.
Like Miatta, several other graduates at the occasion raised similar concern about their fate in the face of such renewed commitment from government.
But their fear was allayed by both Ministers Wilson and Nyepan, and other government representatives at the occasion, who vow to do everything humanly possible to have these graduates employed or placed. Editing by Jonathan Browne