“I was basically sitting down without much to do. Going through this training and having the life skills coupled with the industrial attachment is very important because they instilled a sense of cooperation and responsibility in me. This has become very useful especially when dealing with different people,” says Lamarana.
The GIZ Tekki Fii Project funded by the European Union managed by GIZ is supporting 1200 youths in acquiring marketable skills through TVET courses of 6 to 9 months. After their courses in TVET, the students are taken through life skills combined with enter the labor market training. At the end of this training program, they are all placed in enterprises for 3 months of supervised and structured practical experience within their trade areas.
For most of the students, industrial placement is the very first exposure to real-life working conditions. This unique experience has potentially a life-long impact on their professional lives and can go a long way in shaping their professional careers. “This attachment at Yundum Horticultural Garden is very useful because it has given me the opportunity to work with different people. It taught me ways to approach a client and how to control my emotions when doing the job,” says Lamarana Kanteh.
Mariama B. Bah, another attaché on garment construction, who trained at Ida’s Ideas Training Institute and did her attachment at Ida’s Ideas Tailoring Shop explains her experience, “My internship workplace is very convenient and the staff are welcoming and supportive to interns. It has greatly improved my cutting and sewing skills, time management and interpersonal skills.” When asked about potential constraints, Mariama explains: “The only challenge I faced during the internship was transportation as I had to board four different vehicles to and from the venue every day.” Despite logistic hurdles, she remains grateful for the experience as she has now started her own small business in fashion design.
Lamin Kanteh another attaché who studied Welding and Simple Farm Tools at Chigambas and did his attachment at Yundum Horticultural Garden affirms: “Thanks to this training program, I have learnt ways of becoming a contractor with the knowledge I have and how I can use that knowledge to help my fellow Gambians and the youth not to venture on the backway journey to Europe.”
Ebrima Bisenty studied Construction at Insight Training Center and is now part of those on attachment. They are on their fourth construction project since the commencement of the attachment. At Old Yundum School, the attaches are building a twelve-classroom block, “I’m in the field now after doing the theory in class. The onsite experience is important because this is what makes you a real mason. Now I have the knowledge to go out and partake in any professional construction project,” he stated.
For some of the TVET graduates sponsored by the EU’s Tekki Fii program, industrial attachment is also an opportunity to find meaningful employment; for all, this opportunity represents a crossroads between learning and work. Most importantly, it confronts them, their personality and work ethics with the reality of the labor market. Like all their peers who have undergone this unique experience, Lamarana, Mariama, Lamin and Ebrima are all looking forward to a positive future and are all confident that they are fully ready to take on jobs.