MONROVIA-Studies have shown that in many African countries, the chances of women finding a job is ten times lower than it is for men even though when women are employed, they tend to work in low-quality jobs in vulnerable conditions, and there is little improvement forecast in the near future.
While there may be several explanations for this huge gender inequality in employment and opportunities, the different barriers like teenage pregnancy and lack of education that hold women back from decent work are visible thought-out Liberia.
While vulnerable employment in countries like Liberia is widespread for both women and men, women tend to be overrepresented in certain types of vulnerable jobs where men are more likely to be working in own account employment while women are more likely to be helping out in their households or in some small business owned by relatives.
This was the case with Lydia Gartei, a native of central the Liberia County of Bong who for years roamed the streets of Buchanan, Grand Bassa county selling cakes of soap for a living.
“Truly ArcelorMittal-Liberia is transforming lives and I am one of them as there are many more out there who might not have this opportunity to speak out for the world to hear”
“…but I know moving forward, this is the perfect opportunity. And I hope they can have the chance to one day do the same”.
.. Explained that she is originally from Bong County, but later found herself in Buchanan City selling soap in the streets to keep herself in high school.
But soon after graduation, she said there was no hope to extend “my education” said Lydia who is 27 years old.
I saw this flyer posted in the street about ArcelorMittal-Liberia recruitment and I am like, this is a ‘who know you thing, and I passed by the flyer”
The following day she noted that she made the decision to take advantage of the information and applied for the ArcelorMittal Technical and Vocational Training Academy in Yekepa, Nimba County, and was successful to enroll in the academy.
“I got a phone call from them and I sat for several tests”, the young woman added before boldly expressing, ‘today from soap selling, I am a well-trained Diesel Engineer”
According to her, she didn’t pay a cent to anybody to get enrolled into the training but rather, AML has since provided “three times meal for me, give me stipend every month and after my training, I will be employed”.
Lydia is encouraging females to be complacent about their current condition but goes for the positives in them that will allow them to explore their full potential.
“Go for it positively”, she asserted before letting the Government of Liberia know that it was time she sees ArcelorMittal-Liberia as a c together with whom the government can transform the lives of many youths.
This link takes readers to the testimony of Lydia and dozens of Liberians who were recently interviewed by a team of Journalists who visited the ArcelorMittal Vocational Training Center in the town of Yekepa.
AML’s Investment in Technical Capacity Development
In 2018, Liberia’s Ministry of Education forecast showed that “by 2030, there will be potential demand for 620,000 skilled workers in various industries” across the country.
ArcelorMittal Liberia has positioned itself to support the government to bridge this gap by providing top-notch technical and vocational education training to Liberia’s youth, international advanced scholarships, internships, and support to technical institutions among other interventions.
As the largest foreign investor in Liberia, ArcelorMittal Liberia has invested over $1.7 billion in the country for its overall investment portfolio over the past 15 years including training opportunities.
This is because, the technical field in Liberia is lacking qualified candidates for critical positions to fill this gap, in 2018, AML invested US$ 7 million into the setup and operation of the modern Vocational Training Center (VTC) in Yekepa which provides a two-year residential certificate training in mechanical and electrical trades.
Also, as part of the company’s decision to expand its operations in Liberia, ArcelorMittal Liberia launched a training and development program for high-potential Liberian employees who will gain on-the-job experience and knowledge in ArcelorMittal Mining operations globally.
Such employees, the company says “will receive advanced training in mining production and operation optimization, plant maintenance, planning and execution, plant electrical operation systems, and electrical maintenance. Other training areas include plant fitting and heavy-duty mobile equipment maintenance, as well as mine production and operations”.
The investment in advanced skills training demonstrates ArcelorMittal Liberia’s commitment to providing employment and professional development opportunities to Liberians compare to any other Liberian concession.