As the proud destination of Africa’s 2nd drone corridor and home to the only corridor in West Africa, Sierra Leone has etched its name on the world stage as a committed advocate for integrating drone technology into many aspects of development such as Health, Agriculture, Disaster Response and many more.
In line with this vision to foster drone technology and cultivate Sierra Leone’s first generation of drone/UAV pilots and technicians, the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation devised and executed a two-day training session on the basics of drone technology at the newly established Digital Learning Hub located at the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM).
The Learning Hub is an establishment that aims to address the existing challenge of skills gaps within the workforce by providing more digital learning opportunities. It includes a conducive workspace with free access to 30 computers and a reliable internet connection.
The cardinal purpose of these drone training sessions was to curate, encourage and incentivize a group of drone enthusiasts to join the fledgling drone ecosystem. The training sessions were conducted over two days.
On the first day, participants were instructed on the rudimentary elements of drone technology with detailed descriptions of drone modification and use case adaptation. The second day continued with an informative and thoroughgoing review of the different ways data collected by drones can be leveraged and utilized for public and private sector benefits.
Hafsatu Rakie Sesay is DSTI’s UAV Technical Lead and Sierra Leone’s only certified drone pilot. Speaking on the prospects of the session, she affirmed that she is intrigued by the possibility of mentoring the group and nurturing their budding interests in drones.
When queried on the next steps for the sustainability of this initiative; She confirmed that plans were already in the works to invite this crop of participants to a drone demonstration at the corridor. This demonstration, she continued, will not only allow these participants to interact with international drone pilots and technicians but will similarly put the theories discussed during the training sessions to ardent practice.
Furthermore, all participants will receive a completion certificate. This is undoubtedly a crucial first step in getting these young people to own the process, inspire and transmit these ideas to their colleagues. This feeds directly into the government’s youth-centred agenda and capacitation priorities.
Iyemary Brimah Sallu is the business developer at ECOMED Sierra Leone and is one of the participants. Iyemary is fascinated by drones and hopes to take up a career in aviation.
Courses like this can empower students with access to information, job opportunities, and services that invariably improve their living standard whilst enhancing opportunities for data gathering and analysis for more targeted and effective problem-solving strategies. – Iyemary Brimah Sallu
In hindsight, the timeliness of this training cannot be overemphasized because as government rethinks and realigns its development strategy around innovative solutions, there be will be a surge in the demand for these skills, this demand will in essence achieve the overarching objective of the learning hub which is to reduce skills deficit for tomorrow’s job market squarely.