Around 500 Liberian students have received technical and vocational training at the Japan Heavy Equipment Operator School in Kakata, the capital of the coastal county of Margibi. Ninety-eight of the graduates are now taking apprenticeships in relevant industries and are gaining practical experience with a view to possible regular employment in Liberia’s heavy duty equipment sector.
Speaking at a ceremony marking the start of the second phase of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) project, Roland S. Carey, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, noted that over 50 per cent of the population in Liberia is under the age of 18. He said that youth capacity building programmes such as the one offered by UNIDO in partnership with the Japanese company, Komatsu, are vital for Liberia’s economic stability, as well as for its peace and prosperity.
The vocational training school was established by UNIDO as a partnership between Komatsu, a multinational that manufactures construction, mining and utility equipment, together with the Government of Japan and the Booker Washington Institute.
The school has the capacity to train around 200 young men and women per year on heavy equipment operation and electro-hydraulic technology.
The UNIDO project, “Promoting youth employment by supporting technical and vocational education in Liberia”, which is funded by Japan, supports economic growth and reconstruction in Liberia’s mining, agriculture, agro-forestry and construction sectors.
The project is one of several public-private development partnerships that UNIDO is implementing in cooperation with heavy duty equipment manufacturers. All these projects are under the umbrella of UNIDO’s Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF), a programme that promotes industrial skills among young people in developing countries by supporting the establishment and upgrading of local industrial training academies.