Story: The Gambia offers unique apprenticeship opportunities for youth

26 April 2021
ITC News

The Gambia launched a new pilot programme with formalized apprenticeships in the agro-processing and construction sectors. The pilot sees 75 young people from the lower river, central river and north bank regions formally start new masons and food processor apprenticeships programmes.

Both programmes provide an alternative to the traditional non-formalized technical training, ensuring that young people develop the relevant skills and knowledge to pursue a career in these fields.

Within this pilot, trained experts support the apprentices. Moreover, successful trainees will receive nationally recognized certificates by the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Agency. The food processor apprenticeship lasts 14 months and the mason apprenticeship 18 months. During this time, the young learners will be training on-the-job and undertaking practical assessments.

Sector Skills Councils for the agro-processing and construction sectors made up of employers, employee representatives, and public sector and government partners have developed the programmes. This type of collaboration has  brought an innovative and inclusive approach to the way in which they are designed and delivered and has highlighted  the dedication of employers in both sectors, together with their key trade associations, the Gambia Association of Construction Contractors and the National Coordinating Organization of Farmers Association The Gambia.

The International Trade Centre oversees the pilot programme in partnership with the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Agency, and is part of the MoHERST roadmap that looks at reforming the technical and vocational education and training system in the Gambia. It is also in line with the country’s skills development drive of the National Development Plan and its industrial policy. The pilot builds on best practices as well as seeks to formalize the content, delivery, assessment and certification of the apprenticeship.

If the pilot is successful, it will present an important means for young people to enter the workforce as well as for sectors to address current skill shortages in critical areas, not only in the agro-processing and construction sectors, but in other sectors as well.

The European Union supports the initiative through its Jobs, Skills and Finance for Women and Youth Programme implemented by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the United Nation Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in close collaboration with the Government of The Gambia.