As part of the many efforts aimed at providing marketable skills for the youthful population, specifically for youth in Montserrado County, the official groundbreaking ceremony of a state-of-the-art technical and vocational training center has taken place in Bentol City, Montserrado County.
Official groundbreaking ceremony of the Gateway Vocational Training Center (GVTC) was held on Tuesday, March 6, 2023 following initial block laying.
GVTC is a newly established vocational training center, led and owned by the three private associations, namely; the Association of Liberian Construction Contractors (ALCC), the Engineering Society of Liberia (ESoL) and the Liberian Institute of Architect (LIA).
Funding for the construction of the gigantic project is being supported by the EU and German government through the German Agency for International Cooperation or (GIZ) under the “TVET by the private sector” project under the “EU Support to Demand-Driven Technical Vocational Educational and Training (TVET) for Young People in Liberia.”
Accordingly, speaking during the occasion, German Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Dr. Jakob Haselhuber, indicated that Germany’s support to the GVTC and the TVET sector in Liberia is in furtherance of the two country’s bilateral relationship that stretches over many decades.
As the anxiety of residents of Bentol and adjacent communities grow for the new development, Amb. Haselhuber raised the hope that the project would be completed before the end of the year, as he acknowledged the importance of the GVTC to the Liberian TVET sector.
He indicated that the competency-based vocational training approach applied by the GVTC is inspired by Germany’s dual education system in TVET, which combines apprenticeship in a company with vocational training at a vocational school.
“I call the construction of the GVTC a win-win situation. This will help future graduates to find employment in the sector so easily. I want to thank Government of Liberia and partners for the excellent coordination and cooperation to this project,” the German envoy added.
EU Ambassador to Liberia, Laurent Delahousse, stated that the ownership of the GVTC by three private sector associations is in line with the EU’s vision of a demand driven TVET provision in Liberia.
According to him, the involvement of the private sector ensures that the trainings offered at the GVTC meet the actual needs of the respective industries.
“The European Union and its member states are by far the highest contributors in the TVET sector. We believe in TVET and the development of this country and this is why we have spent over US$19M in the sector. The EU has launched a global program called global gateway, and so the name of this institution falls in line with this program,” the EU diplomat stated.
“Skills taught here are essential to employability for any country’s development. The EU is supporting the TVET sector across the country and by this, Liberia will have one core network that will train qualified technicians. The development of this country lies in the development of the skills of the youth,” noted Amb. Delahousse, adding that GVTC will serve as champion of TVET in the country.
Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, indicated that expanding the number of TVET institutions and offering high-quality vocational training to more young people of Liberia is very high on the government’s agenda.
He pointed out that the establishment of the GVTC aligns with “Pillar 1 of the government’s development agenda; the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), which stresses expanding equitable access to education, technical vocational training, and to information and communication technology.
The construction of this project and the development of the TVET sector is a true manifestation of the President’s interest in TVET. He wants young people to acquire quality TVET, because it is the direction the world is leading and as such it is our responsibility to develop every child. TVET is the dream and direction,” the MYS boss furthered.
He explained that the lack of training and is one major issue of capital flight in Liberia.
“It is my passion to see our home-based youth attain some skills because this will address the issue of lack of empowerment and unemployment for youth and will revert the capital flight. And this is why TVET must be mainstreamed in the Liberia reconstruction framework. Expanding the numbers of TVET and offering quality is high on the agenda of the government,” the Youth and Sports Minister said.
Sekou Dukuly, Deputy Minister for TVET at the Ministry of Education, announced that GVTC being a fully accredited institution by MOE, has developed its curriculum in line with the national TVET qualification framework drafted by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on TVET.
Mr. Dukuly called on other TVET institutions to follow suit the good example of GVTC, as they are key to the growth and development of the sector.
“The private sector involvement is key to the growth and development of the TVET sector. As I stand on this platform, I am pleased to announce that the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on TVET has endorsed the qualification package of GVTC; its curricula are in line with our national TVET qualification framework,” Mr. Dukuly told the gathering.
In brief remarks, Montserrado County Electoral District #1 Representative, Lawrence Morris, said: “I am overwhelmed because this lights up Bensonville. This brings to light what we ought to see. Every development foundation is based on education and so this is in the best direction. To the people of Bentol, this is your project and you must protect it. I see this as a dream come.”
Montserrado County Superintendent, Madam Florence Brandy, described the GVTC project as a historic moment for the city.
Supt. Brandy believes that the full operationalization of GVTC will ensure that many residents graduate from burning charcoal and oil making to learning new trades.
“It’s another day of history making in Bentol and it’s our dream come true. This huge project will help not only people of Bentol but other surrounding places. We have given out lands without development and so in the nearest future we will be taking our lands back. So people who we have given our lands to must copy the good example of GIZ. I know this project will create short term job for our people and so our youth need to take advantage of it,” Supt. Brandy asserted.
Meanwhile, the Board Chair of the GVTC, Madam Jocelia Taplah, has expressed great delight over progress made so far towards the implementation of the project.
“I am with the progress made to date and I am looking forward to move up the interim training facility to the permanent facility by the beginning of next year,” Madam Taplah expressed optimism.
She assured the audience that the GVTC Board will take good care of the center when completed.