The Academic and Career Advisory, Counselling and Student Complaints Services (ACACSC), University of Sierra Leone (USL) supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has conducted this year’s annual International Job Fair and Career Expo at the Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre, Fourah Bay College campus. The 2021 programme marks the third among the series of International Job Fair collaborating with the Confucius Institute (FBC, USL) hat has been observed by the University of Sierra Leone. The objective of the event according to the Director of ACACSC, Dr. Fatmatta Taqi is to provide the opportunity for university graduates and students to have first-hand interactions with employers across the country. The Confucius Institute, USL as part of this process provides access to the numerous Chinese companies and businesses within Sierra Leone through the Commercial Unit at the Chinese Embassy in Freetown. Dt Taqi said that the Job Fair and Career Expo also enables employers to market their services and products whilst seeking graduates and students that would fill the relevant job spaces available in their institutions. Dr. Taqi pointed out that many graduates find it difficult to acquire jobs as a result of lack of knowledge and platforms to identify institutions that fit with their qualifications and their interests. Current students are also increasingly seeking part-time work in order to earn funds for their upkeep and at the same time, acquiring work experience to build their CVs.  The event is also an exceptional forum for business networking and for the development of entrepreneurs.

Left to Right Onana Jalloh, Dr. Fatmatta Taqi, Du Zijun and Professor Bai Shuping

In his statement, Professor Bai Shuping,  Director of the Confucius Institute  at Fourah Bay College said this year’s Job Fair and Career Expo was timely because employers are eager to recruit new staff from university  graduates and  skilled workers now that the Covid-19 pandemic is gradually going away in the country. He pointed out that a Job Fair and Career Expo is an appropriate networking platform for employers and employees to interact with each other.

Staff of Confucius Institute at Fourah Bay College interacting with participants

 The Executive Director of the National Youth Service,  Onana Jalloh, in his remarks pointed out that bringing together business and company leaders, students and graduates yearning to enter the country’s job and business markets was commendable, adding that the National Youth Service will always embrace and promote the scheme in a bid to help young Sierra Leonean university graduates  to better prepare to enter employment markets with ease through quality  mentorship from reputable  organisations and  businesses.  He urged young graduates to take advantage of the opportunity through which they would market their talents and subsequently land themselves decent jobs and become better citizens.

Staff of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces talking to participants

In his address the Chinese Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, Du Zijun, expressed appreciation to the University of Sierra Leone for hosting such an event. He said employment is the corner stone of wellbeing and the wellspring of wealth noting that it is important to people’s happiness and health and the economic development of the country. He said investment has become the key engine of job creation, thus Chinese companies will continue to provide direct jobs and encourage small scale investors to contribute to the economic and social development of the country. Du Zijun noted that the Government of Sierra Leone now puts premium on human resource development and youth empowerment, adding that China will continue to implement programmes and training for Sierra Leonean Youth that are geared towards job creation and acquisition.

Staff of AFRICEL interacting with participants

 Officially opening the 2021 Job Fair and Career Expo, the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Alpha Timbo said his generation were not opportuned to interface with employers whilst they were students of the University of Sierra Leone in such a formidable manner. He mentioned that his Ministry is central in the employment spheres of the country and encouraged graduates to be committed in their workplace for effective and efficient institutional output.  Hon. Timbo also used the occasion to inform the gathering about his Ministry’s roles and responsibilities including the Central Employment Exchange, Work Permit Bureau and Public/Civil Service.

Staff of Sierra Leone Rokel Commercial Bank pose for a group picture with some participants

 More than sixty local, national and international businesses, institutions, ministries, departments and agencies including private sector employers participated in this year’s Job Fair and Career Expo. These include the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank Limited, Aureol Insurance Company, UBA Bank, Orange SL Ltd, National Youth Commission (NAYCOM), NATCOM, AYV, Lebanese International School, Teach SL, Job Search SL and Aid Health Care Foundation among others.