By William J. Mbangula Oshakati The Director of Education in the Oshana Region Dutte Shinyemba has urged learners to move into non-traditional career fields of engineering, physics, chemistry, medicine, social science, information technology, agriculture and computer science where they are under-represented. “I have absolute faith that girls and boys have got the potential to be successful in all fields of studies given the opportunity, moral support and financial assistance. I may emphasise that all fields of study are equally important in Namibia. This country can only develop if you learners take up the challenge by telling yourself that I want to contribute to the further development of my country by following a career.” Shinyemba was speaking at the Oshana Annual Career fair at Valombola Vocational Training Centre (VVTC) at Ongwediva on Tuesday, July 11. She noted that choosing a career is one of the most important decisions one can make in life, hence the need for learners to give priority to this crucial process. “It is by knowing what you want in life that you set goals, match your career choice with your personal values, abilities and so set yourself up to get what you want most. It all starts with your desire to learn and fuelled by motivation. It continues throughout your life.” According to Shinyemba, it is upsetting to learn that the current unemployment rate stands at 37 percent. For this reason, she cautioned learners to work hard and avoid becoming part of “these devastating statistics”. She noted that her office is committed to support, encourage and promote learners who want to make informed decisions about their future. It is for this reason, she added, that her office organised the fair and invited Grade 9-12 learners from different combined and secondary schools to be part of the career fair. In the selection of the participants at the career fair, she pointed out, specific instructions were given to leaders to be gender sensitive. Shinyemba expressed her satisfaction that the girls and boys are represented at the venue in equal numbers. Addressing presenters from various institutions participating in the fair, Shinyemba said: “I wish to appreciate the three-day career fair as something with a strong learning component. This is your opportunity to contribute towards the development of a vision and purpose for our learners. Engage them as they (learners) are looking for information, share with them what you have, expose them to the necessary and relevant information and allow them opportunities to be inquisitive and curious in whatever they are looking for. I wish to urge you to challenge their intellectual abilities that in turn boost the confidence they need as life unfolds.” Because the career fair cannot be successful without the participation of professional institutions, Shinyem-ba commended their presence as indicative of their interest and desire to actively contribute to the decision-making process of the learners and to provide them with correct information, requirements, job opportunities, study prospects and benefits offered by such institutions. About 1 300 learners from 62 combined and secondary schools including those from the VVTC are participating in the three-day fair. The event coordinator Sanet Cloete said the annual career fair has improved every year. For instance, for the first time this year, it included a theme: “Your future, your health. Take the right decision”, introduced to raise awareness about the HIV/Aids pandemic among the learners. “The purpose of integrating the HIV/Aids awareness campaign is to expose the learners to the realities around the spread of the pandemic. This will help them to build their own personal strong foundations,” said Cloete, who is also a senior school counsellor in the Oshana region. About 12 institutions are participating, namely Tele-com, VVTC, Unam, Ongwe-diva College of Education (OCE), Namibian Maritime and Fisheries, Namibian Defence Force, Namibian Police, Nampower, Nets, International University of Management (IUM), First National Bank (FNB) and Race (Regional Aids Committees of Education). The main sponsor of the event is UNAIDS, supported by others such as MVA, GIPF, NHE, FNB and RACE.
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