IUM and NCCI talk to tackle skills gaps

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Knowledge is power… Students at the International University of Management (IUM) pledge to study hard early this year.

Windhoek

In attempt to fill the plug the existing gaps in the labour market in order to produce demand-driven graduates, the International University of Management (IUM) and the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry met last week to explore ways in which the two institutions can collaborate.

The discussion also dealt with student internships that are needed for them to gain on-the-job experience in their chosen industry.

Of late, students have been complaining of institutions, particularly private companies, refusing them internship opportunities to gain work experience and prepare for the job market, despite Cabinet having issued a directive for a national internship programme.

It was also noted, with great concern, that some private institutions do not want to employ graduates fresh from any tertiary institution, even if they excelled in their studies.

The main focus of the discussion was to develop joint strategies aimed at identifying the skills gaps in the labour market and for the university to provide the necessary training and further fine-tune the curriculum around the identified needs.

IUM spokesperson Hilia Sikanda said the meeting was organised as part of IUM’s policy of continuous engagement with key stakeholders and captains of industry and commerce on matters related to training.

IUM deputy vice-chancellor Professor Earl Taylor emphasised the need for cooperation between the private and public sector in training students before they enter the job market. He said the imbalance in the labour market would result in “overheating” of the economy, while disadvantaging the consumer in the process.

Taylor urged the NCCI to strive towards creating an level playing field between the private and public sectors, while the role of the institutions of higher learning would be to produce graduates with skills needed by the labour market.

Both institutions agreed on the need for more stakeholder engagement between industry leaders and institutions of higher learning, as the reluctance of industries to train students, as part of the job attachments, remains a challenge that both parties are trying to tackle separately.

NCCI head of advocacy Leonard Kamwi said the curriculum must to prepare graduates for the real world. He noted though that the NCCI is not a regulatory body, hence cannot mandate its members to provide practical training to graduates.

However, Kamwi promised students that he would continue to motivate NCCI members to facilitate job attachments and that he would provide a report towards the end of the year on the progress made.

Sikanda said IUM continues to develop qualifications driven by the real demands of the labour market, as well as those designed to make a significant contribution to bridging the various knowledge gaps in the country, in line with the Cabinet-approved National Human Resource Plan for 2010-2025.

 

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