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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 3 | Issue 03 | January 23, 2011 |


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Highway to the World of Opportunities

Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra

Conficence can get you where you want to go, and getting there is a daily process. It's so much easier when you feel good about yourself, your abilities and talents.”
--Donald Trump

With the aim to improving our society and reforming the individuals in it with their own skills and raising the profile of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, the British Council has been running a project titled 'Skills for Employability' (SEf) for the last three years. The main theme of the project is to promote skill development and increase the employability of young people by encouraging closer links between education and industry. The SEf project has three strands with one of the important strands being the Enterprise Challenge Award.

Photo Courtesy: British Council

The Enterprise Challenge Award (ECA) narrows down the aim of this wide spectrum project and focuses mainly on national and international competitions and projects for young people. In its third year, the British Council Bangladesh is running this Enterprise Challenge Award in partnership with Bangladesh Technical Education Board and Directorate of Technical Education Bangladesh for the students of the TVET Institutions in Bangladesh. At the same time the competition is also running in Nepal, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. The challenge is a one-day competition, in which students work in teams of five people across the country and from different vocational-skill areas and are asked to find unique and inspiring ideas in response to difficult challenges.

In the year 2010, seven divisional competitions were conducted and 151 institutions participated in the divisional competitions. Around 755 students from these institutions took part in the divisional competition. The result was outstanding too! 14 institutions from seven divisions qualified for the national competition. 70 students from these 14 institutions (Bangladesh Institute of Marine Technology, Chittagong Polytechnic Institute, Bogra Polytechnic Institute, Khulna Mohila Polytechnic Institute and many others) received a two day long training conducted by British Council. The national winner received seed money to initiate their project which they proposed in the national competition.

The award giving ceremony was held at Hotel Sheraton's Ballroom on December 4, 2010. Nurul Islam Nahid, Minister, Ministry of Education of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh was the chief guest at the ceremony. In addition, Professor Dr Nitai Chandra Sutradhar, Directorate General, Directorate of Technical Education and Professor Md. Abul Kashem, Chairman of Bangladesh Technical Education Board also graced the occasion with their presence.

Taking a glimpse at one of the success stories from the previous year 2009:
Liton Halder dropped out from school and was trying to get a job to support his family. Being a drop out and (on top of that) having no expertise in any field, he was struggling to get a well paid job. One day, he heard about the training programme titled, 'Light for Life' (whose motto is to remove the darkness from life of these innocent youths) and he got himself enrolled for it. After he received the training, things began to change for him. He started rewiring his entire house and decided to share his ability with his neighbours. Coming from a very small locality the information began to spread very fast and now Halder gets a good number of calls from his local community. Halder's decision to stand on his own two feet paid off well as he now earns a pretty decent amount. His future plans are to open a specialised shop for himself and start a new business with his father. This new found confidence stems from the fact that he believes that he can earn sufficient money to run his family with this job.

With each day, we are stepping forward as a nation. As individuals or as an organisation running projects (like the Enterprise Challenge Award), we work towards aiding those who need our help. This is the way we will be able to secure our position, not only in our country, but also on the global stage.

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