Learning a Trade in Benin

Learning a Trade in Benin

Compulsory schooling does not exist in Benin. Many who are unable to attend school learn a trade instead. Some of the most common trades in our area of Benin include tailor, auto mechanic, hair stylist, barber, metal worker, carpenter and mason. The trades are divided along gender lines. Auto mechanic, barber, metal worker, carpenter and mason are all men’s jobs. Hair stylist is a woman’s job. Tailor is a unisex position with men making men’s clothing and women making women’s clothing. The skilled trades are learned through an apprenticeship system. A family asks an artisan known for his or her quality to apprentice their child. If the apprenticeship is accepted, apprentices pay the host artisan a series of fees and work for free during their three to six year apprenticeship. Here is a breakdown of the typical fees:

  • Apprenticeship Agreement Fee: 5,000 cfa ($10) plus a bottle of rum ($5)
  • Training Fee: 30,000 – 60,000 cfa ($60 – $120)
  • Graduation Request Fee: 5,000 cfa ($10) plus a bottle of rum ($5) and a duck ($20)
  • Diploma Fee: 10,000 cfa ($20) plus an optional graduation party that costs between 100,000 – 150,000 cfa ($200 – $300)

 

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