LIBERIA: Youth cadets graduate as two-thirds secure jobs in host organizations

Seventy-three (73) youth graduated on 31 January 2023 from the 2022/2023 National Cadet Programme having successfully completed three-month work placements with 52 public and private institutions as well as civil society organizations.

Out of the 73, two thirds of them (49) managed to secure employment being retained by their host organizations because of outstanding performance.

“The high level of retention by the host institutions goes to show that there is a high demand for university graduates,” the National Coordinator of the Cadet Programme, Samuel K. Mappy IV, said during the graduation ceremony held at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Monrovia.

Mr. Mappy announced the Government would continue the programme for a further three rounds to cover the whole country and benefitting 300 more graduating seniors and recent graduates from universities, and TVET institutions.

The youth, graduating seniors and recent graduates age between 18 and 35 years, and with a minimum GPA of 2.5, were deployed in October to acquire practical work experience in a bid to improve their chances of employment. They were awarded certificates of participation by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Hon. D. Zeogar Wilson urged the graduating cadets to always seek to add value wherever they are deployed or employed and urged them to consider becoming employers themselves.

The 2022/2023 Cadet Programme attracted 820 applicants, out of whom 315 were shortlisted and 75 were selected. These were put through various job-readiness trainings including work ethics, communication and leadership skills, mentoring and future-proofing their careers, before placement in various roles in diverse participating organizations.

Some of the host organizations included the Ministry of Public Works with a record 11 cadets, NPhil, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Youth Movement, YMCA, LBDI, YOCEL, d’Calabash, Securex Insurance Company, and the Education Development Centre (EDC).

One of the youth cadets, Nathaniel Green, highly commended the programme saying the job readiness training was invaluable and challenged the Government to scale-up the programme so that it is a truly national initiative like the National Youth Service in Ghana and Nigeria.

“There is need to expand the programme to all counties; 75 is just a very limited number for a country with so many youths. There are still very many youths waiting to be employed across the country,” Mr. Green said.

The National Cadet Programme is an initiative of the Government of Liberia implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, with support from UNDP’s Livelihood and Employment Programme.

Speaking at the graduation UNDP’s Moses Massah said youth can only be productive and contribute to national economic development if provided with opportunities to put their skills and knowledge to work, and when peace prevails.

He commended the Cadet Programme for being gender inclusive. Forty-one (41) of the successful graduating cadets were women, accounting for 54.66 percent of the 2022/2023 cohort.

Reaffirming UNDP’s commitment and continued support to youth empowerment in Liberia, Mr. Massah urged the Government to engage with and enroll the participation of more private sector companies in the programme as well as support from other development partners to scale up the programme nationally.

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