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Moves to fill skills gap for Sierra Leone industrial job market

By Mabinty M Kamara

The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Petroleum and Management (IPeM), Alex Bangura, has stressed the need for skills required for the industrial sector and said his institution was committed to providing such training for the local population.

Due to a severe lack in expertise, very few Sierra Leoneans are qualified to work in the industrial sector, and this has meant that key positions in the country’s lucrative mining sector are manned by expatriates, even though the Local Content Policy of the government encourages otherwise.  

 IPeM is the latest institution to join efforts to fill this skills gap.

With affiliation with a renowned UK tertiary institution, the college provides high value tuition for students in an array of areas, including petroleum and energy management, natural resource management, logistics supply chain and transport and safety in the work place, among others. It issues diploma and certificate.

IPeM is affiliated with Cambridge International College in the United Kingdom.

Due to the inability to produce local experts, most of the companies engaging in mining and other industrial activities in the country hire foreign experts to do the technical jobs, leaving the citizens with menial jobs. This has relatively impacted on the country’s economy in that these foreign experts are mostly paid in dollars.

Bangura, the founder of IPeM, told Politico that strengthening institutions that focus on industrial education in Sierra Leone was paramount in the development of industrialization and creating jobs. He added that most of the jobs which are industrial related were currently occupied by foreign nationals.

“Building the human resources base of the country in manufacturing industries is very important,” he stressed.

Bangura was speaking ahead of a conference organized to engage the religious community on programs offered by IPeM. It specifically targeted The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the east end of Freetown. The goal was to educate the representatives of religious institutions on the need for industrial education in a contemporary society, he said.

Bangura said similar sessions were planned for other religious denominations across the country.

“National development has to start within our associations, and religious bodies are no exceptions,” he said.

“The abysmal trend of employability in Sierra Leone has resulted to an overwhelming challenge in the industrial sector. This has culminated into the notion to promote and premium industrial education,” he added. 

These sessions come ahead of a major student conference slated for this December.

Bishop Nabieu Kamara, one of the first batch of students to enroll at IPeM, gave a testimony at a pre-conference press briefing on the quality of lectures and learning materials made available to students to enhance the learning process.

IPeM is currently operating only in Freetown but there are plans to expand to other parts of the country.

© Politico 26/09/16