Ngato Vocational Training Centre (NVTC) at Kapako village in Kavango West Region offers school drop-outs a chance to improve their livelihood through vocational training.NVTC also offers vocational skills training to jobless and disabled youth to improve the quality of their lives.
NVTC currently has an intake of 79 trainees at the centre, 17 of whom are disabled and recently appointed Namibia Public Workers Union president Serafine Kandere as their patron.
The centre was started in Rundu in 2012 and in 2014 the centre was moved 21 km west of Rundu to Kapako village in the Kavango West Region to a facility run by the Mbunza Traditional Authority at its office, where the centre pays a fee to operate from.
“I started the Ngato VTC, because I used to own a construction company – that I named the centre after – and during that time when it was just a construction company I used to receive a lot of trainees from various institutions and at some point I felt I should just open up a training institution, because I saw the potential to help the youth, so I started with Ngato VTC,” said John Fernando, the founder of NVTC in Kapako.
“We want to equip our trainees with technical skills that our country needs, as we are heading towards the envisioned Vision 2030. As an institution we want to build this country with the necessary skills imparted to our people,” Fernando further said.
NVTC offers 15 fields of study, namely auto electric, auto mechanic, bricklaying and plastering, electrical general, joinery and cabinet making, office administration, plumbing and pipe fitting.
It also offers accounting and bookkeeping, tailoring, graphic design, embroidery (digital), printing (digital), agriculture (crop production) and hospitality training.
Fernando says working with the youth is one thing he enjoys, as he sees the difference he is making in the community, “It’s one way of making the youth stay off the streets and have the skills to put food on the table. I also encourage disabled people to join the training centre to gain skills; that’s why I have enrolled more than 35 and they are doing good and feel that they are not left out.”
In 2014 the centre was also approached by the Forum for African Women Educationalists Namibia (FAWENA) to train 30 trainees through a scholarship programme under the education ministry. All the trainees had disabilities and were trained in technical trades, such as welding, electrical, plumbing and office administration, among others.
NVTC offers level one courses and has offered scholarships to 12 trainees to attend training at level 2 and 3.
Currently NVTC has been contracted by the Ministry of Health and Social Services to train student nurses in IT and English Communication for a year (Information Technology) at Rundu Regional Health Training Centre.
However, the centre is experiencing accommodation challenges, as the centre has no hostel facility. It does not only offer training to people from nearby villages; some trainees travel 21 km from Rundu to attend class. Another challenge is access to training equipment and workshops, as well as student loans.
“The centre is currently in the process of registering with the Namibia Training Authority, but the challenges we face are making the process take longer. If we can get accessible training equipment and workshops then everything will be sorted,” Fernando explained.
The centre has a special project department where people with disabilities and slow learners go through to be enrolled in the training system.
“We encourage people with any kind of disability to enrol at our centre. Our focus is on inclusive education, where everyone is welcome and applications are now open,” he said.