The Assistant Minister for Industry at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has extolled development partners for their tireless efforts especially the Japanese Government and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for their continuous support in buttressing government’s effort to provide Technical and Vocational Education to the citizenry of Liberia.
Assistant Minister Morris K. Siryon speaking at the graduation and hand-over ceremony of the Japanese Heavy Equipment Operator School (JHEOS) to the Booker T. Washington Institute also hailed UNIDO and KOTMASU in partnership with his Ministry for the successful implementation of the project.
According to him, the occasion is in fulfillment of President George M. Weah Government agenda that talks about “Pro-poor for prosperity and national development which aims at creating a middle class in Liberia through the JHEOS empowerment, innovation and creating enabling environment both private and public sectors will interact for sustainable growth in Liberia.
He said the occasion was a demonstration of their commitment as a government to empower the youths of Liberia leveraging on the support of development partners “I also want to inform you all that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry remains committed to this effort that will provide TEVET skills” he added.
Minister Siryon stated that this is so because their mandate is to develop the industrial sector of Liberia, noting that the provision of skills for livelihood will therefore in effect be their effort to supply the requisite human resources to the industrial sector but cannot be done alone unless it is done in collaboration with relevant Institutions and bilateral partners to achieve this goal.
He, at the same time, disclosed that for Liberia to equate itself to other Countries in terms of economic growth, it requires technical training, indicating that graduates of the program are very important to the development and forward match of the Country. He expressed hope that the involvement of the graduates in contributing to the sustainable development of Liberia will be a success.
The Assistant Minister used the occasion to call on all stakeholders that attended the ceremony to cooperate and strengthen the national platform that is needed to ensure that their effort yields fruitful results.
Giving an overview of the Program, the Industrial Development Officer/UNIDO JHEOS Project Manager said the process started in 2012 where UNIDO went to Buchanan Grand Bassa County to do very short-term oriented training in different fields related to the existing industry in Liberia.
Mr. Stavros Papastavrou averred that UNIDO then tried to build assistance for education, training for teachers, modern equipment and facilities that meet international standard.
He explained that when the process started in 2012, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry was instrumented in working together with UNIDO to find where there could be job opportunities; adding that part of the strategy was to find areas related to heavy equipment which form the basis of all kinds of operations in Liberia.
Mr. Papastavrou asserted that the Ministry believed that the program has the potential for creating jobs and that’s how the concept started with the general support from the Japanese Government and they were able to secure financing and technical partnership from KOMATSU thereby starting the program.
He mentioned that it came a time to select Institution but they have not been lucky to have the chance to work at BWI to know that it was a premium Institution for Liberia producing skill manpower for all the industrial requirements and they felt honored, motivated and committed and they put the energy to build BWI to where it used to be in the past.
He then encouraged the young people to make use of the opportunity provided by UNIDO and partners at BWI to learn and get their hands on some practical things (machines) to prepare themselves for the World.