The Inquirer (Monrovia)

8 October 2008

Liberia: 22 Arcelor Mittal Employees Leave for Training

The Twenty-two successful employees of ArcelorMittal that were selected to travel to South Africa for advance training have finally departed Liberia.

Recently, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ArcelorMittal Liberia, Mr. Joseph Mathews, who made the disclosure at a local hotel in Monrovia said the company was sending the twenty-two Liberians, all males to South Africa to build their capacity, stressing that "the company does not believe in bringing to the country expatriates to perform jobs that Liberians are capable of doing.

Mr. Mathews maintained that those Liberians were traveling to South Africa for six months and may extend to Canada with different groups of Liberians to equally benefit from the scheme.

And true to that, on October 1, 2008, the twenty-two Liberians who successfully passed a test administered by the company among various departments which include locomotive (heavy and light duty drivers), electricians, and welding departed Liberia via the Roberts International Airport for South Africa.

Those employees that departed Liberia for South Africa were Ashley Warner, Joseph N. Sumo, Wilfred Mantor, Richard Wiles, Wilson Doleleay, James Gomu, Shelf Sheriff and Roland Smith. Others included Rogers W. Toby, George Eric, Mohamed Geegbai, Histin Kuku, Kenneth Yancy and Sayon Sacker all from the locomotive department.

Those from the electrical department included Reginald Barloun, Charleston Wongbay, John T. Teah and Benjamin Joe, while Melvin Zogbay was the only welder on the trip.

The spokesman of the employees, John T. Teah who could not hide his joy, said, their trip to South Africa is a privilege and an opportunity as the transformation process have alreally begun in Liberia.

"Words are inadequate to express as the company have stated to mode the minds of Liberia and they are moving in the right direction", said Teah.

Spokesman Teah indicated that things are gradually improving in Yekapa and Buchanan as the have put in place free education, medication, and transportation system for both workers and their dependents.

"We want to thank the Government of Liberia headed by Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and ArcelorMittal CEO for such a bold step as it is a dream come true" Teah explained.

The Communications and Government Liaison officer at ArcelorMittal, Henry D. Williamson, who headed the team of trainees to South Africa said, the company sometimes ago promise to train Liberians so that they can return home and be better qualify and capable of doing the work assign to them.

Mr. Williamson pointed out that the twenty-two employees were not hand pick as they all have initial experience in their various fields of specialization.

"It is unfortunate that we do not have a female on the trip when Liberians are now talking about gender equity but the process of recruiting females have begun for the next group which will either be traveling to South Africa or Canada for similar or other training", Williamson indicated.

He said it is very difficult nowadays to find females in the fields of heavy duty, welding, locomotive, electrical etc. Mr. Williamson stated that the employees would go through a four day orientation which begin from October 2nd-5th and classes states on October 6, 2008.

He than urged females with good knowledge in any one of the fields to made better use of it.

ArcelorMittal is the world largest and multi-billion dollar steel company and now operating the Nimba iron ore mountain in Northwestern Liberia.

The company is also equipping young Liberians to acquire the requisite skills that would be of benefit to them and their families after the company may have departed Liberia.

The company is now into the construction and reconstruction face of its program that will require more man power in Liberia.

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