ArcelorMittal Encourages Young Women To Enroll Into Its Technical Training Program

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ArcelorMittal is urging the young women of Liberia to take advantage of its modern technical vocational training program for improved manpower development and maximum exposure.

   At its Yekepa concession area in Nimba County, the global steel giant operates what is unarguably the most equipped technical school in Liberia.

   ArcelorMittal Training Academy offers a rigorous three-year hands-on technical skills development in three industrial fields: electrical, mechanical and welding. Career guardians are also an added objective.

   Intake of young women is limited at the Yekepa Vocational Training Center, which takes about 50 students during each recruitment circle. 

   The expert responsible for technical training within ArcelorMittal, Dawie Loots, says he believes the school offers a lot and will help change the lives of many young Liberians, especially women pursuing their dreams and seeking to reach their full potential.

   “We have fewer women enrolled in our programs; however, there is at least one female in every session,” Loots said.

   Amos Daywhea is the administrator of the Yekepa Vocational Training Center who provides office support to the VTC team.

   For Daywhea, the few young women who have enrolled in the vocational training stand to be the best around after theory training. He averred that they continue to practice, backed by theory, and demonstrate competence despite the technical skills required to work in each of the three sessions.

   “You can see that females are taking the lead to come here and learn something for themselves,” he said.

   “In this public manner, I will ask people who are viewing right now that it is not about the individual; it is about our county and developing young people to seek more for themselves.”

   The Yekepa VTC administrator hailed the students in the various technical programs, and then made an appeal for females across the country to join the ArcelorMittal-fully supported technical school to create a successful future for themselves. “We really want to encourage the females to come because nowadays the females are running away from these things.”

   Daywhea also disclosed that no fees are attached to the entirety of the training and that everything from registration to testing, up to graduation is free. He added that the next recruitment phase would emphasize recruiting more women from across the country.

   Qualification for enrollment in the Yekepa vocational Training Academy is determined by both the Ministry of Education and ArcelorMittal technicians.

   The Yekepa VTC, which was operated by LAMCO prior to the 14 years of war, served as one of the country’s foremost technical training institutions.

   Graduates have for decades provided technical competences to many companies across Liberia, including rubber concessions like the Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC), Firestone and many others.

   Launched in 2018, the ArcelorMittal Liberia Vocational Training Center (VTC) in Yekepa, now the ArcelorMittal Training Academy is a US$7 million investment by the company, which is focused on providing improved technical and educational opportunities in several disciplines for young Liberians (particularly from Nimba, Grand Bassa, and Bong counties) to enhance the workforce and economic development for a prosperous Liberia.

   ArcelorMittal Liberia Training Academy graduated the first batch of students after a 3-year intensive training and the successful completion of international standard exams in 2021. All 45 graduates have been employed by the Arcelormittal.

   The current operational trend of the VTC is tailored to the proposal by the company to expand its operations as contained in its 3rd mineral development agreement (MDA) with the Government of Liberia (GOL).

   When the MDA comes into effect, ArcelorMittal Liberia will significantly ramp up production of premium iron ore, generating significant technical new jobs and broader economic benefits for Liberia.

   The expansion project, which encompasses processing, rail and port facilities, according to mining experts, will be one of the largest mining projects in West Africa with the capital required to finalize the project, including rail and port expansion put at approximately US$1 billion, as it is effectively a brownfield expansion.

   The expansion project includes the construction of a new concentration plant that requires an enormous amount of Liberians with the required technical skills the VTC provides to carry out the substantial expansion of mining operations, with the first concentration expected in late 2023, ramping up to 15 million tonnes per annum (‘mtpa’).

   In the third amendment, AML clearly agrees, commits itself to and has 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.

   As part of the AML employees’ capacity development initiative, staffs have begun receiving advanced training in the fields of 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.

   ArcelorMittal Liberia says it envisages that the expansion will not just explore the potential of young Liberians, but will also further boost the growth of small and medium-sized businesses in Liberia which offer a range of services to ArcelorMittal Liberia.

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