By Fatoumatta K Jallow

The Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, Dr. Isatou Touray, recently presided over the launching ceremony of the ‘Skills for Youth Employment’ fund (SKYE), at a ceremony held at a local hotel in Bakau.

According to officials, SKYE fund is developed under the Gambia Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and will be jointly operated by the National Accreditation and Quality Assurance Authority (NAQAA), and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

The launching of the fund will provide the opportunity to inform young people as well as employers and industry, about new training opportunities SKYE will bring.

In her Statement, Dr. Isatou Touray said SKYE fund is developed under YEP and will be jointly operated by NAQAA, the technical agency of Government responsible for the regulation of tertiary and higher education institutions.

According to Dr. Touray, the model that ensures the critical importance of training youth to meet existing job needs, or in the case of self-employment, successfully meet market opportunities; that the fund aims to equip 1,000 Gambian youth with the relevant market, technical and vocational skills, in partnership with local training institutions.

“Skills training for employability is a critical element in supporting and accelerating development, inclusive growth and poverty reduction through economic transformation and job creation. Formal vocational training and new forms of skills development should equip people with the skills, enabling them to get good jobs and to face key challenges posed by globalization and the informal economy,” Minister Touray stated.

She said the funds will help equip people with knowledge, knowhow, skills and/or competences required in particular occupations or more broadly in the labour market for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Trade Minister further added that for sustainable development to be achieved, there is need to recognize the fact that universal primary education cannot be viewed in a vacuum but entails the need for coherent pathways to further education and skills for employment and self-employment.

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