LIBERIA: Salesian missionaries launch new seminar and electrical course to help support youth in gaining employable skills
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with Don Bosco Technical High School in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital city, have launched a new vocational training course for electro-technicians. There is an afternoon class available to high school students which compliments their current educational path as well as a morning class for young workers to help them obtain certification to improve their options in the workforce.
Before the new course could be launched, much groundwork had to be established. Salesian missionaries developed an occupational standard for electricians in Liberia, developed modular curriculum, produced a pedagogical and material organization guide, set up the workshops, created a two-pathway training for students and workers in the informal sector and determined an evaluation standard and a certification.
The new electro-technician training is part of an initiative that includes the renovation of an existing space in the Don Bosco Technical High School to transform it into a workshop. The initiative aims to respond to the needs of the labor market while ensuring youth have access to vocational and technical training that aids them in finding long-term stable work. The electro-technician course will be opened each year to 90 high school students and 30 uncertified electricians.
“Salesian missionaries in Liberia have had to overcome many challenges including high rates of poverty that continue to leave many children and families in need,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Education is always the primary focus of Salesian programs. Since Salesian missionaries live and work in the communities they serve, they are able to recognize local needs and customize programs and services to meet those specific needs, greatly impacting local youth. This new training program is meeting a need in Liberia’s current workforce while helping youth tap into an industry sector in need of skilled, certified workers.”
Salesian missionaries in Monrovia have also held a peer seminar to promote dialogue among the stakeholders in the technical-vocational training sector. The seminar provided the platform for sharing information in order to empower youth through skills training and development. There were 49 people who attended the event including those from the Ministry of Education, Chamber of Commerce, TVET directors, youth volunteers, teachers and the international community.
An estimated 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line and 1.3 million live in extreme poverty, out of a population of 4.6 million, according to World Food Programme. Food security is also affecting 41 percent of the population making chronic malnutrition high.
Whether working to rehabilitate former child soldiers or assist young women in overcoming barriers to education, Salesian programs in Liberia are providing opportunities for youth to live up to their potential through both academic and social programs. Salesian volunteer programs and Catholic schools have helped more than 2,300 students and their families.