THE NATIONAL CADET PROGRAM
The National Cadet Program is one of the Gov’t’s initiatives instituted to help combat the under empowerment and unemployment crises confronting the youthful population of Liberia. This program which can be traced from the 80s is one of Ministry of Youth and Sports’ longest and outstanding programs which has provided livelihood for thousands of young Liberians through job training and employment. Throughout, the National Cadet Program has been focused on the internship component; by this, graduating students and recent graduates of age ceiling thirty-five (35), from universities and technical and vocational colleges are recruited, trained and placed at various Government run institutions for the acquisition of minimum work experience and job readiness skills as well as exploring avenues for possible employment.
The program serves to enhance the working experience and skills of cadets as well as serving as pipeline for employment.
The National Cadet Program seeks to provide the opportunities for achieving the following:
- Provide livelihood for recent college graduates in the country
- Provide mentorship for college going youth so that they get oriented with basic moral precepts in the employment market
- Ensure the acquisition of minimum work experience
- Development of skills
- Career guidance
Program Location: The Office of the Ministry of Youth and Sports
SKD Sports Complex, ELWA - Paynesville
Target Groups: - University and Technical College graduating seniors and recent
graduates between the ages of 15 and 36.
Target Sectors: Government run Ministries and Agencies
Philosophy of the National Cadet Program:
The National Cadet Program conducts its affairs on an ethical and professional platform by demonstrating honesty, transparency and accountability to the general public, stake holders, direct and indirect beneficiaries as well as hard work and commitment in all functions.
MOYS/Mercy corps partnership:
The National Cadet Program which has a long standing history in Liberia came to a compulsory stand still due to the national civil crisis which hit the country 1989. Considering the program’s sensitive nature and high demand to the youth of Liberia, it resurfaced after the war. The program ran through out but was compelled to shut down due to budgetary constraint as it was entirely funded by the government. After 2011 and 2012 fiscal years passed without the program running, MYS was farsighted to identify and engage Mercy Corps for support. After Mercy Corps consented, a MoU was signed in April 2013 which formed a partnership between Mercy Corps and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to reactivate the National Cadet Program. The MoU shifted the normal recruitment criteria by restricting applicants to graduating seniors and recent graduates from university and technical colleges unlike previously where sophomore and junior student use to benefit from the program. Under the partnership with the two institutions, two phases of the program had been run benefiting three hundred (308) youth from 2013 - 2016. Phase I benefited one (100) youth and phase II benefited Two hundred eight (208) youth under two components. At least 99 cadets have been gainfully employed and work with their host institutions up to present. Other cadets who were able to demonstrate excellent work habit and performance got hired for contracts and employments to other host institutions through the National Cadet Program recommendation. Currently, 99 cadets have been deployed to 15 host institutions for a period of three months. Mercy Corps as a partner does not only serve as a conduit through which SIDA passes funding to support the program, but also implement the program along with MYS by performing basic functionaries such as recruitment, training staff, cadets, M&E etc. Mercy Corps partnership with the Ministry to run the National Cadet Program has added more value as the program has become more capacity building focused and impact driven.
Public sector engagement: (Job Market Demand)
The Ministry of Youth and Sports collaborates with Public institutions in the implementation of the program. As government institutions rarely recruit staff through vacancy announcements, the National Cadet Program has been one of the major channels through which young people enter public institutions and begin their professional lives. While competitive recruitment process is going on, the Ministry engages government run institutions in order to have cadets assigned for internship for a specified period. As part of the collaboration with the Ministry, these public institutions identify works for the cadets and assign supervisors to them for monitoring and mentorship. Partnership with public sectors has met expectation as host institutions partake in recruitment (interview process) and assign works to cadets and subsequently employ or contract some of the cadets.
Youth Recruitment: (Labor supply available):
Recruitment process is comprehensive and involves series of activities carried out with transparency and impartiality thus providing equal opportunity for all interesting candidate and selection. Considering the high unemployment rate as a challenge for the youth, the process is highly competitive as the required numbers of beneficiaries are always less for the very high number of application. The process is demand driven, and applicants select their own hosts and categories of works made available by host institutions. Host institutions also request for successful candidates by their fields of study.
The selection is rigorous and competitive, it begins with preliminary screening where candidates’ applications are screened to establish if they meet the application requirements (complete application form, transcript/grade sheet, Diploma/attestation letter, letter of recommendation etc.) and eligibility (maximum age, school status, minimum GPA 2.5 etc.) the process continues with going through the applications, using the score sheet to short list. Spot checks are carried out by Mercy Corps after shortlisting. The last selection process is candidates’ interview and selection of successful candidates. Every activity involved in the selection process is transparent and impartial.
Selection Criteria: Applications must satisfied two requirements as followed
- Application requirements
- One letter of application
- Curriculum Vitae
- One passport photo
- University Transcript or recent grade sheet
- Diploma or letter of Attestation from University or college.
- Eligibility & Qualification
- Applicant must be a Liberian
- Minimum age 18 and maximum age 35
- Minimum of 2.5 GPA
- University/college Graduating Senior or recent graduate of not more than three years
- Must be selected through a competitive interview process
Training of Trainers:
A ToT is carried out for the project staffers before the pre-deployment training. This ToT is a capacity building section for the MYS staffers in order to prepare them for the pre-deployment training.
Training of Participants- There are two basic types of training cadets normally undergo
- Pre-deployment-which is done normally the immediate week before cadets’ deployment. During this training, cadets acquire basic work readiness skills and office ethics and etiquette. A special curriculum of office procedures is prepared for cadets. This training is normally intensive and lasts for five days.
- Monthly refresher training -The last Friday of every month, cadets leave from their various host institutions to show up for this training. This training is basically purpose to refresh cadets of office procedures and professional conducts. The training also helps to provide feedback from cadets for subsequent actions.
Monitoring- Monitoring of Cadets during the program period starts when immediately when cadets are deployed to their various host institutions. It is done in the following ways.
- Regular spot check – where the program monitors visit institutions weekly without notice to check on cadets’ presence and performance.
- End of month report – cadets are evaluated through their monthly timesheet, cadet reporting form and supervisor reporting forms.
- End of program M&E – This is done through a baseline survey at the end of the program to establish the number of cadets that are retained by host. Supervisors and host officials provide their own assessment and impression of cadets to survey team through questionnaires. Cadets also give their own assessment of the host institutions.
Communication and Coordination: Communication is carried throughout the implementation of the program in various forms:
- Public Awareness – print, electronic and social media are utilized to inform the public of the activities of the program. Publicity is especially high during recruitment.
- Communication to host institutions, cadets and other stake holders through letters is done to communicate the program next activity.
- Telephone calls and text messages are other forms of communication method we use especially to get urgent messages across.
Coordination is constituted by regular spot checks, monitoring and evaluation of cadets to their respective host institutions. Coordination is carried out by project team supervised by both the Director and Assistant Minister for Youth Department.
- Samuel K. Mappy, IV. Coordinator
- Arkie S. Gailor Asst. Coordinator
- Jimmy Wonyehn Program Assistant
- Alexander T.J. Kamanda M&E Assistant
- Aaron Jones Field Assistant
- Love Gonyon Monitor
- Emmanuel D. Dunn Monitor
- Musu Rick Monitor
- Thomas Flomo Monitor
- Ruth Tarbah Administrative Assistant
- Tina I. Johnson Administrative Assistant
- Mercy Karnwhine Office Assistant