British Virgin Islands and the EU

Project launch of the Employment Promotion Programme (EPP IV)

17/02/2021 - 12:44
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Team Europe in action to support skills training and boost youth employment in Sierra Leone.

The European Union with co-funding from the German Government today launched the fourth phase of the Employment Promotion Program (EPP IV) which focuses on improving the living conditions of young people in rural communities through better employability and more employment opportunities in the beneficiary districts of Kailahun, Kono, Koinadugu and Falaba.

The launch event at Radisson Blu Hotel, Freetown was marked by the presence of EU Ambassador Tom Vens, German Ambassador

Horst Gruner, Minister of Youth Mohamed O. Bangura, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Dr Francis M. Kai-Kai, Minister of Trade Dr Edward Hinga Sandy, GIZ Country Director for Sierra Leone Christian Widmann and Director of TVET Dr Victor Massaquoi.
The EU contribution of EUR 13 million towards this 4 year programme implemented by GIZ will substantially improve the employment and income situation of about 2,500 youths in agriculture and in micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). The programme will apply a multi-pronged approach that strengthens both employment opportunities for the young in the private sector and supports the development and institutional strengthening of vocational education and skills training in Sierra Leone.
The skills development component hopes to also address the mismatch between skills supply and labour market demand by providing targeted life and business skills training to youths.
This initiative is a component of the Jobs & Growth programme signed with the Government of Sierra Leone in April 2020 and reaffirms the EU’s commitment to contribute to the development of the country’s human capital through the empowerment of young people as indicated in its Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023.
EU Ambassador Tom Vens underscored that “if education does not lead to employment, then we miss the point.”
Tom Vens also recalled that EU’s previous engagement focused on improving management, delivery and equal access to TVET. The Jobs & Growth “Employment Promotion Programme” will now crucially link skills training and access to employment for youth.
German Ambassador Gruner said the new phase of the EPP program - supported by the EU and Germany through the “Team Europe Initiative” - has the objective of creating 500 new jobs for salaried employees and 2000 new jobs for self-employed persons comprising 50% of women. He further reaffirmed his country’s more than 55 years long development cooperation with Sierra Leone.
Dr Francis Kai-kai expressed sincere appreciation to the EU and Germany for their contributions to the programme, and for ensuring that it addresses the needs of rural communities especially youths and women who form the bulk of the country’s population.
Actions foreseen under this programme include: building an effective training partnership with the private sector, strengthening the governance of the vocational education sector, improving institutional capacities to contribute to higher quality and labour market relevance of TVET in the medium term, and developing new or revising existing curricula for increased demand-orientation of vocational training.
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