Michael Axmann, Senior Expert in Skills Development Systems at ILO
“You will get the right skills with an apprenticeship!”
Those were my mother’s words when, at the age of 18, I came home with a two-year contract in my pocket for an apprenticeship at a local bank. I’d decided not to go to college right away, because I wanted to get some work experience and start earning some money. Even though I eventually did get my university degree, I still look back on that decision as one of the best career moves I ever made.
Dennis Zulu, Chief Program Officer, ILO Office for Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
When news of the first cases of the Ebola outbreak started filtering out of Guinea and Sierra Leone in late 2013, it received little media attention—even here in West Africa. The affected villages were so remote that most people assumed it would be easy to contain.
As someone who travels frequently to Freetown (Sierra Leone), I took a special interest in the news. The village of Kenema, now thought to be the epicentre of the outbreak, was formerly the site of an ILO development project.
A tobacco plantation isn’t a safe or healthy place to work for a child, but it was the only way my family could survive. My parents are poor farmers and barely able to support a family of eight on MK20,000. This is about US$ 50 per year. I had nothing. My parents are tobacco tenants and we all had to work together as a family. I’ve been working in tobacco since I was five. Attending school was never an option for me.