Liberia: Prospects Graduates 45 Apprentices

-- J-Palm CEO encourages Mercy Corps' apprentices

While it is widely known that many youths, when graduating, have great expectations of lucrative jobs to satisfy their pleasurable egos, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of J-Palm Liberia, Mahmud Johnson, has admonished them to seek a long-term experiences that will provide them the opportunity to know and do the work well.

The J-Palm CEO threw the challenge out recently when he served as a keynote speaker at a program that marked the graduation of 45 young people who successfully completed Mercy Corps Liberia's three-month intensive apprenticeship training in Monrovia.

"If you focus only on the money today, it will not help you, but if you gain the right experience, you will make more money for yourself. How do you get the right experience? You have to engage yourself with the work, pay attention to your boss(es) or even the area that you are assigned."

Mercy Corps Entrepreneurship and Employment Manager,Wah Ajavon, said the program affords young people the opportunity to acquire relevant work experience for three months in a trusted work environment and aims to provide youth with a livelihood program that focuses on building their confidence and skills for the job market.

The Promoting Sustainability Partnership for Economic Transformations (PROSPECTS) is fully funded by the Swedish Government through its Agency for International Development (SIDA), and implemented by Mercy Corps Liberia.

The PROSPECTS program has three components; employment and entrepreneurship, social business for employment, and business advisory support. Mercy Corps provides incentives for the trainees to cover transportation and other expenses.

"We agree that Mercy Corps is giving you money, but what they are doing is to set you up for your right career path," said Johnson.

Mercy Corps Program Director, Sreejon Deb, extended gratitude to the host businesses for their support and encouraged the graduates to exert efforts by finding appropriate jobs with the requisite skills relating to the training they have acquired over the three-month period.

After the apprenticeship period, 20 (11 female, 9 male) out of 45 apprentices were retained by the businesses where they were assigned.

In response, two of the beneficiaries expressed appreciation to Mercy Corps for giving them the opportunity. They also commended the Swedish government for funding PROSPECTS' activities and providing opportunities for Liberian youths.

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. "In a disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action -- helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within, now, and for the future," the organization says.

Since 2002, Mercy Corps has worked in Liberia and is partnering with the Government of Liberia to implement five programs in the areas of Youth Employment and Empowerment, Advocacy, School Feeding, and Maternal Health.

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