By Tabora Bojang
The National Youth Council in collaboration with the student’s Unions of GTTI, UTG and MDI, Sunday joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Youth Skills Day.
It was observed in the form of a symposium, and displaying of skills showcasing Gambian talents.
Incepted in 2014, the day is internationally recognised by the United Nations, to raise awareness on the importance of youth skills development. Every July 15 is set aside to mark the day.
Attended by passionate youth groups, students and youth advocates, the day also saw participations from successful and skilled business entrepreneurs invited to share experiences and success stories and challenges underpinning youths, both in skills development and acquisition.
There, young speakers raised concerns as to how skills acquisition is wrongly perceived as many feel it is for less talented and less educated people with no career hopes.
The event avidly highlighted the need for change of perceptions and mindsets of young people, parents and decision-makers towards skills acquisition as a catalyst for socio-economic development of the country.
Fatou Jeng, the president of the UTG student union, called for the need to review the country’s education policy, in a bid to getting more young people appreciate skills acquisition.
The Executive Director of the NYC, Lamin Darboe, said a range of solutions is needed from all stakeholders and policy-makers to encourage skills acquisition for sustainable economic development and employment.
“We need to start radical changes of perceptions about skills and how we treat skilled people in our society, which is the only way we will be able to build our own esteem and confidence to venture into skill acquisition valuable for the labour market.
“If the skilled men and women among us are not treated with respect they deserve, how can we encourage ourselves to acquire skills much more our children?” the director asked.
He said the commemoration of World Youth Skills Day was expected to remind young people to take up skills development as careers.
“…But also to remind policy-makers that they need to make deliberate actions, policies, efforts and investments to ensure that people take up skills.”
He called for more advocacies to ensure youth are empowered and assured the gathering of the NYCs commitment.