Skills development initiative targets unemployed youth in Omaheke

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GOBABIS – The Pinnacle Metropolitan Empowerment Trust (PMET) has partnered with the Soft Cloud Toilet Paper Manufacturers in Gobabis to develop skills of unemployed youth. The partnership between the two institutions is unique, as it targets the unemployed pool of youth in the Omaheke Region.

“Namibia needs development partners such as the Pinnacle Metropolitan Empowerment Trust to assist government in its quest of combining all public and private organisations and the commitment of entrepreneurs to create an internal synergy partnership as the key to developing sustainable and solid SMEs,” said Minister of Trade and Industry, Calle Schlettwein, during the inauguration of Soft Cloud last Thursday.

In a speech read by Deputy Minister Tjekero Tweya, Schlettwein added that Namibia can only benefit fully if value is added to its resources to ensure that the country does not export job opportunities and wealth to other countries. “In that way specialised skills are developed in Namibia and in that way we have easy access to finished goods in the country,” said Schlettwein.

Also speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Chairperson of PMET, Clara Bohitile, said the trust trains people with the aim of providing employment. “We partner with SMEs to provide more employment and to ensure economic growth. We assist SMEs to acquire industrial skills,” noted Bohitile.

According to Director of the Soft Cloud factory, Lloyd Underhill, all the factory’s staff members on the production floor were previously unemployed youth in the Omaheke Region. With the assistance from the PMET, the staff members underwent a basic fitter and turner course at the local vocational training centre (VTC) after which they received official VTC certificates. Underhill explained that all the machines on the factory’s production floor work on the same basic pneumatic principle, as many other machines within the manufacturing sector, which enables the trained youth to become employed within a wide range of manufacturers. “With this training approach, we ensure that we use more people from the untouched unemployed pool within the region instead of merely shifting those who are already employed to different companies. In this way, we contribute directly to poverty alleviation,” remarked Underhill.

The Pinnacle Metropolitan Empowerment Trust focusses on skills development and training, with an emphasis on building character and leadership skills. The trust also stresses the importance of education for the young and talented, especially students from underprivileged backgrounds. PMET also focuses on community upliftment projects in the areas of job creation and poverty alleviation and have made significant contributions to the Tsumkwe, Topnaar and Kosis settlement communities and by funding skills development training for Men on the Side of the Road.

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