Various terms have been used to describe the fields that make up TVET. These include apprenticeships, vocational education, technical education, workforce or workplace education amongst others, but essentially TVET it is the acquisition of knowledge and skills for the world of work.
With around 100 registered TVET institutions, Sierra Leonean employers should arguably have no problem finding suitable candidates to fill their vacancies. Nevertheless, according to research that Insight magazine conducted earlier this year, they report quite a different experience. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents cited untrained/unskilled staff as the main problem in their early years of business. Anecdotal evidence bears this out, with most employers listing low skills among their top frustrations.
This is reflected across the continent. The Initiative for Global Development, found that member CEOs and senior executives operating in Africa overwhelmingly pointed to a lack of skills in workforces around the continent as the biggest challenge in creating sustainable business operations. At the same time, youth unemployment and underemployment, indicates a severe mismatch between what employers are looking for and the skills that young people are offering in the labour market.
The respective frustrations of both groups – the employers who struggle to fill their vacancies adequately, and the young people who can’t find jobs – can be seen in the numbers of out-of-work young people, and in the frequently low level of service delivery encountered by customers and clients.
Read the rest of the article on TVET in Sierra Leone on page 21 of Insight Magazine