Oil Company Boosts Funds for Skills Training

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Shell Namibia yesterday donated N$80 000 to the centre for entrepreneurial development at the Polytechnic of Namibia in its efforts to improve opportunities for young people through the creation and development of business enterprises. The donation, which also includes training materials, would be used to train 50 young people and 50 inmates from the Windhoek Central Prison in the compilation of business plans, cash-flow management, marketing, and administrative and financing expertise. Minister of Safety and Security Peter Tsheehama noted during the handover ceremony that the donation was relevant to the ministry’s plans. Providing pre-requisite skills to offenders that may facilitate their re-integration within their respective communities as law-abiding citizens was vital, said the minister. Most offenders when they are released become jobless due to lack of skills. This in turn makes them feel isolated and deprived of opportunities offered by law-abiding society. Because of that, they reject the lifestyles and laws that society requires and are likely to re-engage in criminal activities. According to Tsheehama, one way of bringing individual offenders into society’s embrace is through entrepreneurial training. “We must understand that returning unprepared, uneducated and unusually bitter individual offenders to the community could represent a further threat to public safety and enhance the recidivism rate,” warned the minister. Through this programme, the skills development of offenders offers greater opportunities for securing jobs available in institutional workshops and community through which they attain positive habits and real work experience. Shell Namibia Chief Executive Officer, Willie Mokgatlhe, said that since the introduction of the Livewire initiative by Shell in 1995, the company has been involved in stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit among young people. In Namibia, this entrepreneurship project started in 2004 and so far four workshops have been conducted in Oshakati, Windhoek, Swa-kopmund and Walvis Bay, while in neighbouring South Africa, 20 000 young people have acquired skills through the same. The entrepreneurial skills training and development of small and medium businesses for the Namibian communities would not only benefit these young people but would also contribute to the economic growth of the country. The training of the 25 youths from Windhoek started yesterday while that of the other 25 from Keetmanshoop will commence on 18 April 2006. Training of inmates would start as soon as the logistic work is done, Polytechnic Project Officer Richard Kakono told New Era.

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