"For young technicians graduating from a skills training program to find meaningful employment, besides the technical competencies they acquire, they also need to master essential skills such as CV-writing, networking, scouting for jobs or attending job interviews," expressed Samboujang Touray, Junior Technical TVET Advisor from the EU-Funded Tekki Fii project implemented by GIZ. Enter the Labour Market (ELM) Training is one of the support modules which GIZ together with its 9 partner training providers is offering to its 1200 beneficiaries to facilitate their transition from training to employment. From last year to date, 342 out of the intended 1200 trainees had already undergone the ELM training. In December 2020, another 500 trainees are set to undergo the ELM training as they reach the final phase of their skills training programs. This module is offered in combination with Life Skills courses and Career Guidance and Counseling, preceding a placement in industry for a minimum duration of 3 months.
The ELM focal person at Sterling Consortium – Busumbala, Musa Ceesay, who also doubles as the Head of Administration, highlighted the importance of the training in boosting the confidence of new professionals, who often are not exposed to reality of the labour market. "ELM is very important for young people especially for young professionals because it educates them on the different strategies of finding a job and also gives them the courage and self-confidence during a job interview or in negotiating for pay," Mr. Ceesay explained.
It's a requirement for all 15 TVET institutions that GIZ is supporting under the EU-funded Tekki Fii project. During the process, participants are engaged through role plays and simulations to bring to life the realities of the labor market such as the first job interviews or salary negotiations. With its variety of sessions, this training is expected to give TVET beneficiaries a comparative edge over their peers in the field who might not have been exposed to the same skills set. "I am ready to face any challenge in the job market and I'm sure I will pass any job interview because I learned about the common questions that panelists usually ask during interviews, and also how to appear in an interview and present myself as the professional that I am," says Ousman Gaye one of the beneficiaries at Insight Training Centre.
Some of the other graduates also said the training added much strength to their entrepreneurial abilities, networking, and negotiation skills. Sainabou Manjang a student in Electrical Installation at GTTI is one of those: "I never knew how to write a CV before this training, but now I don't have to pay anyone to do that for me. I now know the importance of research in my field before stepping into that interview room, and I feel my confidence has reached to the level that I can achieve great things in my career," she gladly posed.
According to Rita van den Berg, the GIZ ELM training expert, self-awareness and confidence enable students to feel assertive and turn an interview into a dialogue. "Youths generally have little or no experience in talking to employers and investors. That's why they are more vulnerable in acquiring jobs and business support. If we truly want them to participate in the labor market, then we should also guide them", she said. According to Samboujang Touray, GIZ’s Junior TVET Advisor, trainees and trainers alike have shown considerable interest in the training. By January 2021, additional 400 trainees are also expected to benefit from this initiative. To sustain ELM training and ensure that it continues to be delivered to TVET trainees besides including trainees that are not sponsored by the EU-funded intervention even after the Project end in November 2021, GIZ has trained focal persons in each of its 15 partner training centers in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA), Lower River Region (LRR), and Upper River Region (URR). By then all the targeted 1200 students should have attended the ELM sessions and, hopefully, found a job or become self-employed.