London Mining and GIZ fund skills training project at St Joseph Institute in Lunsar
London Mining Company (LMC) in collaboration with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and the St. Joseph Vocational Training Institute, on 19 September 2013, launched the “From Mines to Minds” Project at the St. Joseph Institute Peace Hall in Lunsar. The project is a vocational and technical skills training pilot programme funded by LMC and GIZ and it will support the St. Joseph Institute in becoming a competence centre for demand-oriented skills training and self-employment service in the region.
In a statement at the launching ceremony, LMC Human Resource Manager, Mr. Denis Donkin, said that the launching of the project was a clear demonstration of LMC commitment to the local content strategy and contribution to the Agenda for Prosperity of the Government of Sierra Leone by increasing the pool of qualified labour for both mining and other sectors.
“Through this project, the population of Lunsar and more than 300 students will have access to a refurbished vocational institute and new equipment. We have modernised curriculum and training in the vocational trades of fabrication, welding, carpentry, joinery, building and construction and motor mechanics,” he said.
Mr Donkin added that the project will improve the employment rate of St. Joseph’s graduates from 40% to 55% and through the functional adult literacy programme 400 adults have access to new opportunities, 30% of whom will be women.
“We are offering Sierra Leonean’s new opportunities and under this innovative private and public partnership, we are leveraging the experience and knowledge of each partner and ensuring that skills from graduates from St. Joseph will meet the needs of the private sector,” he concluded.
The Country Director of GIZ, Mrs. Marina Mdaihli, said that sustainable development can be supported through private investment which will augment Sierra Leone’s development agenda. “This is a pilot project which we hope will benefit youths, particularly the women of Sierra Leone,” she said.
The Commissioner of the National Youth Commission, Mr. Anthony Koroma, said in his opening remark that the partnership is a public-private one which aims at improving the vocational and technical skills of youths and women in the area. “The success of this project will encourage other mining companies to support similar ventures in the country,” he said.
The Marampa Youth Chairman, Frank Conteh, said “this day in Marampa is a remarkable one and it serves as a mirror of reflection.” Frank described the “From Mines to Minds” Project as a clear support from the public-private sector for Sierra Leone’s Agenda for Prosperity. He advised the students to make good use of “this golden opportunity.”
Paramount Chief Bai Koblo Queen II thanked LMC and GIZ for supporting vocational and technical skills training in the Marampa Chiefdom.
In launching the programme, the Director General of the National Mineral Agency, Mr. Sahr Wonday, said that with such a partnership, it will help address the youth unemployment in the country.
The Memorandum of Understanding was however signed by LMC, GIZ and St Joseph’s Vocational Institute. The event was climaxed by music and artists performance from some past students.
The “From Mines to Minds” Project is an integrated approach to training and local economic development and LMC and GIZ jointly provided €470,000 to fund the pilot skills training programme at St. Joseph Institute.
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