In several of our international projects, we emphasise the importance of training young people and getting them into work. Particularly in countries where the socio-economic context makes them particularly fragile and vulnerable. In Senegal, 70% of the population is under 35, and youth unemployment is extremely high. In 2019, according to a report by the Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD), almost 6 out of 10 unemployed people (62.3%) are young people. Women are also more affected than men (73.7%), and almost 8 out of 10 unemployed people (79.1%) have a low level of education, primary level at most. Youth unemployment in Senegal is mainly due to a mismatch between the training on offer and the local labour market. It is therefore important to promote appropriate training that meets demand.
This is the background to our new Suxali project, located on the outskirts of Dakar, in partnership with the Jeunesse, Culture, Loisirs, Technique, Interventions Sociales (JCLTIS) association. The aim of this project is to promote, innovate and modernise a vocational training centre for young Senegalese. The centre is recognised by the government and is one of the most highly regarded in the Dakar region. It offers a wide range of training courses: electricity, wood/metal carpentry, welding, and many others. The centre would also like to develop a film training option in the future.
One of the special features of the centre is that it does not only provide vocational training. It also offers real socio-educational support: the centre welcomes and accompanies young people in prevention, training, education and integration initiatives. JCLTIS offers an educational service, mediation with families, psychosocial support and cultural and sporting activities. Stays are also offered to young Europeans for whom social institutions no longer work, providing them with an alternative solution for training and integration. The centre is mixed with around 40% girls and 60% boys, and takes in young people from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. Scholarship holders, children in highly vulnerable situations or from financially stable families meet at our partner centre.
To ensure that these young people are integrated into the labour market in a sustainable way, the JCLTIS association develops and maintains links with companies, enabling it to offer work placements. Matching vocational training to the needs of the local job market is one of the aims of developing this integration aspect within the vocational training centre itself. In order to adapt certain training courses, such as electricity and carpentry, and make them more modern and innovative, the centre has been twinned with one of the Apprentis d'Auteuil training centres in France: the Campus Saint-Lubin. It enables trainers to exchange practices and share innovative experiences.
Through this new project in partnership with JCLTIS, we aim to support young Senegalese towards sustainable social and professional integration. We are also aiming to enhance the technical skills of the professionals and develop income-generating activities for the association to ensure the long-term future of the centre and its various initiatives.