By Olimatou Coker
The International Trade Centre in partnership with the TAF Africa Foundation on Tuesday launched the first formal apprenticeship program in masonry for women and young people.
The pilot is aimed at increasing the impact and effectiveness of the apprenticeship models by formalizing and strengthening the delivery and assessment and to build the skills and competencies of the selected youth and women through industry-oriented on-the-job training to be masons.
Ya Bajen Njie, General Manager of TAF Africa Global, said under the TAF training institute, TAF Africa Foundation signed an MoU in December 2020 with the International Trade Center (ITC) to implement the newly developed structured apprenticeship framework in masonry and to create employment opportunities for youth and vulnerable people in rural regions.
“The apprenticeship framework was jointly developed by ITC, mothers, and NAQAA”.
Njie thanked the ITC and all partners while wishing all the participants good luck.
Yusupha Keita, representative of the International Trade Center (ITC) said the day marks another very important milestone in the history of skills development in The Gambia as they witness the official opening of the first formal and structured apprenticeship program in construction with one of the best construction companies in the continent. “It marks a new era and the continuous drive for the transformation of TVET in The Gambia but yet, it is a beginning of a lot more innovative solutions to skills development in The Gambia,” he said.
“The apprenticeship program kicking off here today is part of the three apprenticeship programs piloted in the ITC, food processing and construction as a critical and credible alternative to full-time TVET program that will allow young people and women to acquire competencies in construction”.
Keita said the construction sector is very much relevant to the quest for development in the Gambia as highlighted in the national skills survey, the entrepreneurship policy, industrial policy as well as in the Gambia National Development Plan.
He said apprenticeship is not and should not be seen as an option for those who cannot take an academic route. “They are recognized as an effective way to develop those skills sought by employers and provide an essential foundation on which to build successful careers,” he added.