Lack of Skills Stunts Business Growth

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK A deficit of technical and managerial skills continues to stunt growth and expansion of business in Namibia. Two days ago, business tycoon Harold Pupkewitz said a serious skills shortage in Namibia is one of the major factors delaying business growth. In an effort to find a solution to this problem, Pupkewitz handed over training manuals to the vocational training institution, Katutura Youth Enterprise Centre (Kayec). Kayec is a training centre for unemployed, out-of-school youths, primarily between the ages of 18 to 30. The unemployment rate in Namibia currently stands at 36 percent. Apart from the manuals, Pupkewitz also gave a cheque of N$8 000 which will cover course fees for 10 students with financial difficulties. Kayec resorts under the Namibia Training Authority (NTA), a national institution that ensures that skills provided by the vocational training system in Namibia are relevant to the requirements of the national industry. Since its establishment in 2004, NTA has taken a strong lead in the preparation of training materials in different areas of business such as building and automotive trades, information technology, office management and tourism. Currently, Kayec trains youth in basic industrial and computer skills among others. In light of that, Pupkewitz who turns 91 tomorrow assisted the NTA by sponsoring an amount of N$10 000 for the production of manuals for building and automotive trades that were donated yesterday to Kayec. “To achieve higher growth, we need much more investment in production and distribution which will take place only if we develop a more skilful and diligent workforce offering the labour market a good range of technical and supervisory skills currently being experienced across the board,” he said. Minister of Education Nangolo Mbumba applauded Pupkewitz for this sign of goodwill and dedication, adding that the presentation of these manuals is a step to enable both Government and privately operated vocational training centres to offer quality guidance. The manuals are designed to enable trainees for whom English may not be the first language to comprehend the materials much better. Mbumba also expressed satisfaction with the significant contribution made by the private sector in developing such materials, saying that graduates from institutions such as Kayec will obtain employment easily as the employers will appreciate the competency and skills these young people will acquire. Sixty-eight young people received certificates in different fields after undergoing three months of intensive training in among others, computing, basic metalwork skills, bricklaying and building skills, and plumbing. One of the graduates, Simon Njiva says, “Some of us came to Kayec without any knowledge but through determination have obtained a certificate, a key to a better future.”

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