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Vocational training to enhance employment skills for youth in Eritrea

Metal work trainees at Keren Centre, Anseba Region. Photo: © UNDP Eritrea/Mwaniki


The National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) is equipping the youth with vocational skills to help them engage in economic activities and access employment. The trainings are facilitated through the youth employment skills development project in all the six regions of Eritrea. Currently 198 trainees from Keren town and its environs in Anseba region, Eritrea, have benefited from training in graphics, videography, metalwork, woodwork, pottery and electricity installation.

A committee of representatives from the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW), NUEYS, local administration, Ministry of labour and the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), selects the beneficiaries. The selection criteria takes into consideration; gender balance, youth from female headed households, youth who have been demobilized from the military service, internally displaced people and youth who have special needs.

One of the trainees, Daniel Kitre is 18 years old and has been training in metalwork for the last six months. He said that the training exceeded his expectation because he has learned a lot in those six months. He is confident of his newly acquired skills and aspires to have his own workshop after the training. ‘I would recommend this training for my friends who are looking for jobs.’ He added.

Bierhane Teare (30) is a woodwork trainer and is a former trainee. The trainee job has enabled him to have regular income which he uses to support his family. ‘I would have loved to start my own business but I didn’t have capital.  I am glad to be using my skills to teach others.’ He has been at the training centre for five years. He said that most of the furniture they make at the workshop have been sold and there is adequate demand for their items.

Another trainee, Hadgu Araya (36) is a father of two children and is one of the trainees that were demobilized from the military. He has been in training for the last seven months and plans to open his own workshop after the training.

Woodwork is not gender neutral. Though it is a male dominated field in Keren, Mrs. Tsega Teklemenot (28) is a testimony that women can thrive in this field. She has been a trainer at the Keren centre for the last eight years. ‘There is a perception in the society that woodwork is hard for women. This is not necessarily true. I am prove that a woman can do well in this field, I love what I do.’ She said. ‘Most ladies prefer to work as waitresses and make quick money, they don’t want to spend time in training  but I hope that they will realize that time spent in training actually pays off once one starts working.” She added.

To promote women participation in male dominated fields, NUEYs in collaboration with the National Union of Eritrean Women held awareness raising campaigns in all the six regions of Eritrea to create awareness on gender balanced roles.

One of the challenges of the project is that they have limited space in the centres and can only admit 50 youths at a time. However, the project is boosting the capacity of the training centres. They have purchased additional training equipment and in future hope that they will be able to admit more trainees.

The youth employment skills project was scaled-up form a pilot project that was implemented from 2007 to 2011. It is supported by UNDP and the Government of Norway. The project aims to enhance the capacity of various vocational training institutions and equip the youth with work skills. There is a lot of demand for training and they are planning to train 325 additional youth in 2016.
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