Four hundred Sterling graduates ready to enter labour market in the Gambia

19 January 2022
ITC News

Four hundred young Gambians have graduated from the Sterling Skills Training Centre in Busumbala, the Gambia. The new institution is supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC) through its European Union (EU)-funded Youth Empowerment Project and the EU Jobs, Skills and Finance Programme for Women and Youth. The graduating class includes 138 students who were supported through project-funded scholarships.

Following the graduation, ITC handed over start-up kits to graduates from different skills centres. The young Gambians completed a vocational training supported by the country’s Skills for Youth Employment (SkYE) Fund in various fields, such as horticulture, plumbing, satellite installation, carpentry, welding, food processing, construction, IT, rural mechanics, solar installation, hair dressing and vehicle diagnostic. The equipment provided to 168 young Gambians complements their vocational and entrepreneurship training and enables the graduates to start their own businesses.

The graduation ceremony concluded with the official opening of Sterling Skills Training Centre. The new campus allows Sterling to train up to 500 students per semester and supports the Gambia’s national vision to strengthen and expand technical and vocational education training (TVET) across the country. Since the inception, the Centre has been supported by the EU and ITC, offering practical and demand-driven technical and vocational trainings.

The Sterling Skills Training Center is one of the six institutions contracted under the SkYE Fund, set up by ITC in collaboration with the Government of the Gambia, and provides relevant and market-led skills training to youth and women. The SKyE Fund is supported by the European Union through the International Trade Centre’s Youth Empowerment Project and the EU Jobs, Skills and Finance Programme for Women and Youth.

Since its launch in 2018, around 1,720 youth have been successfully trained and 500 jobs created, with almost 160 youth assisted to become self-employed by providing them start-up tool kits. The on-going third round of the SkYE Fund supports another 860 youth and women in acquiring market-relevant skills.

“Skills development remains a top priority for the development of The Gambia,” said Fatou Janneh, Principal Higher and Tertiary Education Officer, Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology at the launch of the Centre on 18 January 2022. “The Government is committed to support the creation of a skills-based economy that will serve as a catalyst for employment creation. Today’s graduation and the inauguration of the new Sterling Campus is an important milestone.”  

Yusupha Keita, Skills Coordinator at the International Trade Centre added: “The SKYE fund is part of the initiatives of the National TVET Road Map and the recently validated TVET policy to improve quality, relevance and access of skills training. The initiative contributes to strengthening the TVET offering in The Gambia, creating jobs, improving the perception of TVET and enhancing the competitiveness of the Gambian economy.”

Kebba Sillah, CEO of the Sterling Skills Training Centre, concluded: “Today, with support from our partners, we are graduating students in 8 trade areas. Our objective as an institution is to provide training on special skills that meet the needs of the job market and foster self-employment which we believe will reduce unemployment and curb irregular migration.”