The SOS Training and Production Centre (SOSTPC) was founded in 1983 and its operations started in January 1984. It was officially inaugurated on 15th November, 1985.
The Centre’s mission is to cater for young under-privileged youths, who, one way or the other, could not complete their basic education as a result of poverty, being destitute, orphaned or abandoned. We provide vocational training and skills to enable them become useful citizens and contribute positively to their own personal development, and to the development of the country as a whole.
In order to achieve this, SOS Training & Production Centre offers a three-year intensive apprenticeship training program comprising both practical and theoretical tutorials in Carpentry & Joinery, Welding & Fabrication and Auto-Mechanic, Mathematics, Computing, English, Guidance & Counselling and HIV/AIDS. The trainees are also sent on industrial attachment to companies and industries to experience real-life work experience.
In conjunction with its training programme, the centre operates a well organised Production Unit; manufacturing furniture, panel doors, woodwork, metalwork, iron gates, rafters, door and window frames, and repairing and servicing of vehicles. Thanks to the facilities in each workshop, the trainees can undergo the three-year intensive apprenticeship training with both practical and theoretical aspects which enhances the effectiveness of on-the job training. SOSTPC is the only training centre throughout the Gambia with a production unit as part of the facilities provided for on-the-job training. This enables the centre to produce highly skilled apprentices.
From 1987 to 1999, 101 students graduated from the centre in Carpentry, Plumbing, Metalwork and Fabrication, and Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. From 2000 to 2007, another 103 students graduated in Carpentry and Joinery, Metalwork and Fabrication, and Auto Mechanic. From 2010 to 2017, 174 students graduated among whom 81 (46.55 %) are employed, 30 (17.24%) are self-employed and 33 (19.00%) are on apprenticeship.
Some of the main activities of the SOS Training and Production Centre are explained below:
Industrial attachment is an on-going activity, forming an important component of the vocational training of the student, giving them a first-hand experience of real-life work experience and a taste of life in the industries. It continues to be a priority for SOSTPC because it affords the interns job opportunities as well as exposes them to different skills.
SOSTPC involves in community service every year so as to inculcate a sense of pride and happiness in helping others, fostering a sense of responsibility and solving problems.
This year’s community service was held on 29th November, 2017. Both staff and trainees took part in this activity.
Home visits are always conducted, which is aimed at having a first-hand evidence of the students’ home background and knowing the parents/guardians of the trainees.
It is one of the activities the Centre in involved in, and through them, parents/guardians are sensitized on the importance of TVET and its benefits.
Sensitization – School Visits
The Centre visited three junior secondary schools and one senior secondary school from 20th to 24thMarch, 2018, to sensitize students and young adults, especially girls, both in the formal and non-formal sectors, on career opportunities and the importance of vocational training.
The Gambia Radio and the TV were also used to facilitate the sensitization of the wider society on the importance of vocational education in nation building.
Parents-Instructors Conference and Exhibition of Students’ Work
Parents-Instructors conferences are held at the end of each term in the academic year. The last meeting started on Monday 8th and ended on Wednesday 10th January, 2018. These meetings provided both parents and Instructors the opportunity to meet and discuss trainees’ conduct and academic performance as well as to showcase their work.
Students’ Personal Tutors
Every year, new trainees are assigned personal tutors who advise and counsel them on educational matters, career opportunities and social responsibilities, as well as closely monitoring their conduct. Regular monthly meetings are held by the tutors with their students to discuss their concerns and challenges.
After admission, orientation of the new students is conducted during which the rules and regulations are thoroughly explained and a guided tour of the facility done by the various Heads of Sections.
The Centre has been conducting field trips to deepen and enhance what students have been learning in the classroom. From 24th to 28th April, 2017, the centre embarked on field trips to renowned companies and industries throughout the Greater Banjul Area. On Thursday, 10th May, Auto-Mechanic trainees went on another field trip to Espace Motors, and visited CFAO and TKMotors on Tuesday 15th May, 2018.
THE PRODUCTION UNIT
The Production Unit is the “power house” of the SOSTPC. It provides on-the-job training for the students and financially supports the training activities.
The Auto-Mechanic Section
Auto-Mechanic trainees are generally involved in servicing and repairs of SOS project vehicles and private vehicles as well as repairing gear boxes, clutch systems, exhaust systems, generators, building of vehicle engines, body-work and painting.
Female trainees repairing a starter motor during a practical lesson.
The Carpentry Section
The Carpentry section continues to do lots of private work for individuals and the resettlement package.
Carpentry trainees are normally involved in general production and repairs of furniture. Early learning educational materials/school furniture were built for the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education such as desks, cupboards, picture frames, and folding doors, among many others.
Carpentry trainees are building furniture for the resettlement package and are finishing stages of the tables. They completed the chairs, cupboards, and the bookshelves.
The Welding and Fabrication Section
Welding and Fabrication trainees do their own designing and production in manufacturing and design.
The Metal section did a lot of designing of flower pots, manufacturing garden chairs, roofing materials, and double doors and windows for private individuals. Beds and chairs were also built and repair works done.
Metal trainees displaying their finished products on furniture design work and charcoal pots.