President Adama Barrow Thursday laid a foundation stone for the building of a dormitory block and expansion of the Technical and Vocational Training Center in Ndemban, Foni Brefet, calling on young people to take up skills and vocational education to help close the technical skills gap in the country.
President Barrow said there is a huge technical skills gap in the country currently being filled by non Gambians. He said the trend is unsustainable and wants to see Gambians move into the sector to create jobs and employment for themselves.
“We will establish skills training institutes in each region to train young people who will be ready to enter the industry,” said President Barrow.
President Barrow said Gambians rely on heavily on others for technical services such as mechanics and carpentry. He called on young Gambians to acquire these skills to empower themselves and others.
The President highlighted the financial benefits on the country’s economy if all the potential revenue that non-Gambian workers repatriate is retained in the country.
President Barrow commended MRC Holland Foundation and its chief executive, Henrietta Sonko, for funding the project. He said Henrietta and her team had become crucial partners to his administration’s vision for expanding technical education in the country. The organisation has funded the building of hundreds of classrooms and dormitories around the country for both academic and technical institutions.
The Ndemban TVET centre is an outpost of the Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI). Among other similar institutions in the rural parts of the country, it aims to equip young people with marketable skills to meet the high demand for skilled and technical labour in the country.
President Barrow was later taken on a tour showcasing some of the innovations and types of equipment produced by the GTTI. He was shown a remodelled solar-powered car and a digital remote-starter garden irrigation system.
From Ndemban, the President proceeded to visit the Science and Technology Institute under construction in Kanilai.
The Minister of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, Honorable Badara Joof, informed President Barrow about the ongoing renovation and expansion of the school. He said the institution would provide training to the Higher National Diploma level with students fully prepared to enter the job market and have the opportunity to proceed to the University of Science and Engineering Technology -USET.
President Barrow said he plans to develop science and technology education by expanding technical and skills education in the regions.
While in Kanilai, President Barrow visited the family home of former President Yaya Jammeh and the facilities housing the troops of the 4th Infantry Battalion. He had a private discussion with the Jammeh family together with First Lady Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow.